You have a tension headache almost every day. Your stress lives in your headaches, your neck, your back, and your shoulders. You’re used to it. You take medication for anxiety and blood pressure because you might blow at any time. You attempt to practice meditation and other methods for managing stress, but it doesn’t work. At home, you miss out on a lot. Your partner complains that you’re never around and you’re more familiar with photos of your children than their actual faces. When you’re urged to take a vacation, the idea of being far away from the office or without a wifi signal to stay connected stresses you out more than being in the actual office would. If you identify with any of this, you might be suffering from work addiction – a workaholic, according to ‘Workaholic Health Risks’.

Work Addiction is Real

Workaholics suffering from work addiction are also likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and depression, the article reports. A study out of the infamous University of Bergen in Norway analyzed more than 16,000 workers. 7.8% of them qualified as workaholics. Notably, workaholics were suffering from a psychiatric disorder. Ranging in order of highest percentage, those disorders were:

  • Anxiety
  • ADHD
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Depression

Heavy workloads and high output are not the only effects of being a workaholic. “Workaholism can also lead to burnout, where you suffer chronic exhaustion, low resilience for minor life stressors…and even apathy and cynicism.” Working more than 55 hours per week, the article cites, is linked to a 13% increased risk of heart disease and a 33% increased risk of stroke.

Problematically, like any other compulsive “addiction” there is little enjoyment in the work. Work is a compulsion and a necessity rather than something done out of joy. Quoting the author of Addicted to Busy, the author cites that “True workaholics have high work involvement, high drive, but low work enjoyment.”

Combatting Workaholism

Mindfulness and meditation, along with other stress reduction techniques are important to use with a high workload. Mindfulness practices, including meditation, are proven to reduce stress, improve heart health, and increase wellbeing. More importantly, they commonly bring people to a feeling of connectivity and universality, helping them to create meaning in their lives which supersedes the importance of work.

Work addiction and co-occurring mental health conditions can often lead to the impulsive and abusive use of drugs and alcohol. If you are struggling with substance abuse and co-occurring psychiatric issues, there is help available. We also offer an executives recovery program.  Call Get Real Recovery today for information on our residential treatment programs designed to help you succeed in sobriety. 866-983-3651.  


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