As with any other addiction, work addiction 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 yourself.
But without noticing it, being addicted to your work may make you successful in the short-term, but 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:
- Give your brain some time to reboot by taking a break or two during your work day.
- Take some time off work and go on a holiday. Not taking any time off work lessens your productivity and lowers your performance.
- Break the habit of eating lunch at your desk. You’ll recharge your brain and stop you from gaining weight.
- Make time to be with your family and friends.