Sunday, June 27, 2010

Effects of Workplace Mobbing: Lasting Debilitation

My last treating psychiatrist Abbas Jama, M.D. recommended that I give up my preoccupation with the past.  He said I should let go of my anger with my last employment experience at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, where I worked for three-and-a-half years as a paralegal.

Yes, I am preoccupied with my past employment problems.  But is my reaction an abnormal response or a typical response to severe mobbing by coworkers?  The literature indicates that in cases of "third-degree" mobbing the victim may be unable to reenter the workforce and may suffer serious, long-lasting mental or physical disability.  It may be that I suffer the effects of "third degree" mobbing.

People ask: Why do you write a blog?  My answer?  If I had a psychiatrist who was expert in treating my specific problems maybe I could talk to him about what I feel.  But that's the problem: finding a psychiatry resident from St. Elizabeths who is expert in treating my specific problems.

Victims of workplace mobbing frequently suffer from: adjustment disorders, somatic symptoms (eg, headaches or irritable bowel syndrome), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), major depression.

In mobbing targets with PTSD, Heinz Leymann notes that the “mental effects were fully comparable with PTSD from war or prison camp experiences."

Some patients may develop alcoholism or other substance abuse disorders. Family relationships routinely suffer. Some targets may even develop brief psychotic episodes, generally with paranoid symptoms. Leymann estimated that 15% of suicides in Sweden could be directly attributed to workplace mobbing.  A worker's perception that he is a victim of mobbing is not necessarily evidence of paranoia; mobbing itself can lead to paranoia and psychotic episodes.

Degrees of mobbing:

First degree: Victim manages to resist, escapes at an early stage, or is fully rehabilitated in the original workplace or elsewhere. Second degree: Victim cannot resist or escape immediately and suffers temporary or prolonged mental and/or physical disability and has difficulty reentering the workforce. Third degree: Victim is unable to reenter the workforce and suffers serious, long-lasting mental or physical disability.


Gary Freedman said...

We need anti-mobbing legislation in the District of Columbia. In my own case, the lack of a legal remedy or even recognition of the phenomenon will end up costing the federal government $500,000.

Is it at all credible that one of the largest law firms in the country, with access to the resources that Akin Gump had access to, wasn't aware of what was going on? Not bloody likely.

And just how worthless was Sheppard Pratt as an Employee Assistance Provider that it couldn't advise Akin Gump on workplace mobbing? Akin Gump should sue Sheppard Pratt!

Anonymous said...

Anti-mobbing legislation is past due. It is only in dollars and cents that agencies and corporations become committed to change.