Are You Suffering From Workaholism?

Living to work takes its toll on both your body and mind. In this article, we talk about its consequences and also about different prevention and coping strategies that can help you avoid it.
Are You Suffering From Workaholism?

Last update: 29 September, 2022

Do you find your workload heavy and overwhelming and permanently feel as if you want to escape the office? When you’re called upon to sort a problem, do you do so immediately? Do you feel you must finish all your pending tasks before you leave for the day otherwise you’ll have a sleepless night? Do you spend your vacations glued to the phone talking to your boss because you know that, if you don’t, you’ll find yourself in a mess when you get back to work?

If these situations sound familiar to you or you know someone who behaves in this way, it could indicate workaholism.

Here, you can learn everything about this condition.

Workaholism

The term workaholism gives a name to a permanent preoccupation with work, to the point that the rest of your life is affected. If you’re suffering from workaholism, you won’t be able to disconnect in your free time, or enjoy your leisure and rest properly.

Furthermore, contrary to what you might think, your performance at work will also end up being affected. In fact, chronic fatigue, constant anxiety, and worry eventually take their toll on your health, so your work performance will also be affected.

Worried man working
When work is a constant, it can end up influencing all aspects of a person’s life.

Causes of workaholism

Why have you become addicted to your work? In reality, it’s not usually due to its quality. Indeed, your desire to stay connected certainly isn’t because you see the activity as enjoyable. In fact, your predominant mental state is stress. So why don’t you walk away from it? Let’s see.

  • You’re ambitious, self-demanding, and a perfectionist. Consequently, you need stimulation and are unable to disconnect.
  • You feel as if you’re indisposable and fear that the work chain will fall apart in your absence, with the consequences that this entails when you return.
  • You use your cell phone excessively in your need to always stay connected. This means you tend to see work notifications in your free time.
  • You feel pressurized by your company, which harasses you in your spare time so you end up working.
  • Work serves as a refuge for you from other unpleasant situations, such as a bad environment at home or a relationship breakup.
  • You equate personal value with work value. You also believe that it’s bad to leave work with a task half done and that you should be continually increasing your productivity with no respite.

Symptoms

As you can see, the if you’re a workaholic, you’re unable to disconnect (physically and mentally) from your work, either due to compulsion or harassment from the company you work for. This rhythm of life, added to an intense and obsessive emotionality, ends up somatizing and producing symptoms such as:

  • Intense psychological stress.
  • Burnout syndrome.
  • Sleeping problems.
  • Problems with the digestive system, skin, or hair due to chronic stress.
  • Intense anxiety, to the point of suffering anxiety and panic attacks.
  • Excessive use of cell phones.

Furthermore, as we mentioned earlier, this mental state ends up affecting your personal life.

How to avoid suffering from workaholism

Maybe you think that, if it were up to your bosses, you’d be working nonstop until you died of exhaustion. You’ve probably also considered how you’re constantly bombarded with the need to be productive which does nothing but make you unhappy.

If you’re thinking in this way, it’s a good sign, because it means that you’ve reached the first stage of building your shield against workaholism. This involves the deconstruction of thought. No one is free from the influence of society, but you can readjust your personal values and decide that you work to live, not live to work.

It’s also a good idea to do some routine soul-searching to identify your symptoms, especially if your job is really demanding or you’re experiencing harassment, certainly until you can find a better job. Focus on self-care and learning how to disconnect as you walk out of the office door or turn off your computer.

Relaxed man with eyes closed
To manage executive syndrome, it’s essential to learn to disconnect.

What to do if you think you’re already suffering

If you’re already living with constant anxiety, are permanently glued to the phone, and continually thinking about the future problems that’ll occur if you don’t talk to your boss, you may need to see a psychologist. Like other conditions, there are degrees of workaholism, but managing to escape a situation like this on your own and coming out on top might be so difficult that you end up not doing it at all.

If taking care of your sleep patterns, eating better, meditating, and exercising aren’t working, see a psychologist. That’s because it isn’t easy to reorient your working life and cease being a workaholic and it isn’t really something you should try to do alone.

It might interest you...
How Do You Know If You’re Suffering From Work Stress?
Exploring your mind
Read it in Exploring your mind
How Do You Know If You’re Suffering From Work Stress?

Work stress is the pressure that an individual suffers at a physiological and emotional level, due to psychosocial risk factors.



  • Taheri, F., Naderibeni, N., & Mirzamani, A. (2022). Subjective well-being in the relationship between workaholism and workplace incivility: the moderating role of gender. Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, (ahead-of-print).
  • Morkevičiūtė, M., & Endriulaitienė, A. (2022). Defining the border between workaholism and work addiction: a systematic review. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 1-11.
  • Santos, J., Sousa, C., Gonçalves, G., & Sousa, A. (2022). Work passion and workaholism: Consequences on burnout of health and non-health professionals. In Occupational and environmental safety and health III (pp. 493-504). Springer, Cham.