Although there is not a single way to define workaholism, studies show that people who [work unreasonably hard due to an internal, obsessive drive, may have a work addiction. 1 2 Being a workaholic is not a formally recognized mental health condition, but it is a real addiction that can have a negative impact on a person’s health, relationships, and quality of life.
People who are addicted to working can receive top-notch treatment at an inpatient recovery center. If you or someone you know, needs help overcoming an addiction to working, call our confidential helpline at 1-888-319-2606 Helpline Information to find a rehab facility that helps workaholics gain control over the problem.
What is a Work Addiction?
“The term workaholic was first coined by the American psychologist Wayne Oates in 1968.”
The term workaholic was first coined by the American psychologist Wayne Oates in 1968. 3 However, it wasn’t until the 1990s, during the self-help movement, that the word entered into mainstream America and became a way to describe people who display addictive behaviors towards working.
In other countries, being a workaholic is considered to be a serious problem. In Japan it is called “karoshi” (death by overwork). It accounts for deaths caused by stroke, brain disease, and heart attacks in Japan. 4 People in the Netherlands call it “leisure illness” and it is estimated to affect three percent of the country’s population.
In the United States, however, the term workaholic is often used in a positive manner to refer to people who are devoted to their careers. Unfortunately, this can lead to many people suffering from the condition, which is why it is often left untreated. A work addiction can have a negative and sometimes fatal effect on addicted individuals and their families.5 It is important to know what the symptoms of being a workaholic are, and it is also important to seek treatment at a work rehab and recovery facility as soon as possible if you are suffering from this condition.
Work addicts may experience negative effects from their addiction, especially in their social network. Some of these effects include: 6
- Less job satisfaction.
- Poor social relationships with friends outside of work compared to other employees.
- Low life satisfaction.
- Family distress.
and can include: 7
- Having difficulties delegating work to others.
- Obsessing over work during vacation.
- Neglecting responsibilities in other aspects of your life (e.g. missing your child’s baseball game to do work).
- Attempting to turn other aspects of your life into work (e.g. turning a hobby into a business).
- Having persistent feelings of not being good enough.
- Setting impossibly high and unattainable standards.
- Having a pressing need to please others.
- Having a need to control people and situations.
- Having a preoccupation with work and work-related activities at all times.
- Spending an excessive amount of hours working each day.
- Denying that there is a problem when confronted.
- Making attempts to hide signs of working.
- Exhibiting withdrawal symptoms when away from work.
- Inability to distinguish between work and leisure.
- Having a loss of perspective.
- Developing a loss of personality and humanity.
- Having an onset of medical problems related to stress of working so much.
Tips for Finding Work Rehab Centers
The underlying cause of being a workaholic is different for every person. Seeking treatment at an inpatient work recovery center can help people suffering from this condition discover and address the root cause of the problem, which often increases the odds of avoiding relapses. Although there are outpatient treatment programs that address the causes of being a workaholic, it may be better for a workaholic to enter an inpatient program. These programs require patients to live at the facility for the duration of their treatment, which helps them avoid the temptation to work. 8 9
There are a few things that you must consider when searching for a recovery program. First, you must find out how the facility will prevent you from attempting to do work while you are in recovery. The facility should have measures in place that prevent you from using your phone, laptop, or tablet to do work while you are in treatment.
Other things to consider may include:
- The location of the facility
- The types of services and amenities offered
- The cost of treatment or rehab
- Whether or not the facility accepts insurance?
- Length of the program
- Which medications are prescribed during and after treatment
- Whether or not extended care is offered
- How the facility helps people transition to a support group
Once you have an idea of what you need, it is time to get recommendations for treatment centers. It is best to talk to trusted sources, such as family doctors, mental health professionals, or people who have gone through similar experiences. Calling our confidential helpline at 1-888-319-2606 Helpline Information is also a good way to get unbiased information about treatment programs and work rehab centers. You can also search for reviews of the facilities online. Some places offer an onsite tour as well, which will give you an idea of what the facility looks like.
Dealing with work addiction can be challenging. With the right treatment at a high-quality work recovery center, you can beat your work addiction and live a normal life. Call our helpline at 1-888-319-2606 Helpline Information for assistance finding the right program for you.
. McMillan LHW, O’Driscoll MP. (2006) Exploring new frontiers to generate an integrated definition of workaholism. In: Research companion to working time and work addiction, Burke R (Ed.), 89-107, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.
. Ng TWH, Sorensen KL, Feldman DC. (2007) Dimensions, antecedents, and consequences of workaholism: a conceptual integration and extension. J Organ Behav 28, 111-36.
. Quinones, C., & Griffiths, M. D. (2015). Addiction to Work: A Critical Review of the Workaholism Construct and Recommendations for Assessment. Journal of psychosocial nursing and mental health services, 53(10), 48-59.
. van Beek, I., Hu, Q., Schaufeli, W. B., Taris, T. W., & Schreurs, B. H. (2012). For Fun, Love, or Money: What Drives Workaholic, Engaged, and Burned-Out Employees at Work?. Applied Psychology, 61(1), 30-55.
. Hu, Q., Schaufeli, W., Taris, T., Hessen, D., Hakanen, J. J., Salanova, M., & Shimazu, A. (2014). East is east and west is west and never the twain shall meet: Work engagement and workaholism across Eastern and Western cultures. Journal of Behavioral and Social Sciences, 1(1), 6-24.
. Andreassen, C.S. (2015). Workalholism: The concept and its assessment. In Harpaz, I., and Snir, R., Editors. Heavy Work Investment: Its nature, sources, outcomes and future directions. Applied psychology series. New York, NY: Routledge.Taylor & Francis Group. pp. 68-97.
. Ascher, M.S., et al. (2015). Work addiction: taking care of business. In Ascher, M.S., and Levounis, P., Editors. The Behavioral Addictions. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc. pp. 199-208.
. Aziz, S., and Vitiello, K. (2015). Managing workaholism. In Burke, R.J., et al., Editors. Flourishing in life, work, and careers: Individual wellbeing and career experiences. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing. pp. 169-192.
. Finney, J.W., et al. (2009). Effects of Treatment Setting, Duration, and Amount on Patient Outcomes. In Ries, R.K., et al., Editors. Principles of Addiction Medicine. Fourth Edition. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins. pp. 361-378.
You are never too old to improve your health and quality of life!