As with any other addiction, workaholism has destructive consequences. However, with our need to receive praise for our work, showing up early, eating our lunch at the desk and staying in till late, can make it seem okay to overwork ourselves.
But while in the short term being addicted to your work can make you successful in the short-term, in the long run, you’re going to find yourself heading for a dead end.
For years, researchers and psychologists have been debating about what defines a workaholic, and whether workaholism can be classified as a disorder or not. In U.S based psychotherapist Bryan E. Robinson’s “Chained to the desk” book, he breaks down workaholism into three components. Workaholism is “an obsessive-compulsive disorder that manifests itself through self-imposed demands, an inability to regulate work habits, and an overindulgence in work to the exclusion of most other life activities.”
However, there is a defining factor between being engaged in your work and being addicted to it, say psychologists. While the hard worker is enthusiastic about their job, feelings of guilt and compulsion force are the workaholic’s motivators.
Workaholism also generally comes with a world of rewards: raises, promotions, and a status that comes with being busier than everyone else.
At the same time though, your work is taking a knock, so are your relationships, and at its worst, your health is at risk. Difficulties sleeping, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, weight gain and cancer, are all illnesses associated with workaholism.
The main problem is that workaholism is a rare mental health issue; one that some psychologists have called “the best-dressed mental health problem”.
If you think you’re a workaholic or feel like you need more balance in your life, here are a few things you can start doing to take control of your life:
Ultimately, you need to learn to do the work that is right for you. Trying to always go above and beyond your capabilities will create unendurable levels of stress.