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J Fam Pract. 2010 Jan;59(1 Suppl):S3-S11.

The social and economic burden of shift-work disorder.

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Department of Family Medicine, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA.


Shift-work disorder (SWD) and its defining symptoms can negatively affect health, quality of life, and work performance. The gravity of these consequences necessitates vigilance for the symptoms of SWD by primary care physicians. The threshold for treatment intervention for emergency service workers, such as firefighters, who make crucial decisions under shift-work conditions and who are experiencing SWD should be lower than for shift workers in general. The economic costs of untreated SWD are likely to be high. Early diagnosis and treatment of SWD may reduce these costs in addition to reducing the human burden of this circadian rhythm sleep disorder.

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