Thursday, February 19, 2009

"Post Downsizing Syndrome"- Let's Not Get Too Clinical

I recently did an interview with the Indy Star (click here to read), looking at the psychological impact of downsizing. Lots of attention given to this topic lately, and it's great that reporters are writing stories that offer people tips for dealing with layoffs and downsizing. However, a new term that is popping up everywhere is "Post Downsizing Syndrome".

We need to be careful here, as it's very easy to create a new pseudo-diagnosis.  Reactions to layoffs are varied.  Some people fair better than others. A layoff can be devastating but from a clinical mental health perspective, there is no such diagnosis or "condition" known as Post Downsizing Syndrome.  The term is a catch-all phrase to describe everything from feelings of stress, irritability, anger, depression, guilt, marital discord, alcohol abuse, and many, many more reactions.  The bottom line is this: being laid off can be extremely distressing. Most people will fair well in the long-run. Some people will need professional psychological interventions to address more extreme reactions. There are many, many psychiatric diagnoses. Post Downsizing Syndrome is not one of them.

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