I’m Addicted to Work – What Can I Do?

September 30, 2019
Do you think you're addicted to work? Do you sacrifice your personal and family life for your job? This article will help you figure out what you need to do to get on the path to recovery and find balance in your life.

Being addicted to work, also known as workaholism, is a problem that many people face in today’s face-paced, stressful world. In this work-obsessed culture, it’s easy to believe that being a workaholic is a good thing. After all, workaholics get a lot done! However, being a work addict has some serious negative consequences.

In the article “Workaholism: A Review“, author Steven Sussman explains that people who are addicted to work are incapable of maintaining a balance between their personal lives and their work lives.

A stressed guy at work with crumpled papers all around.

What feeds workaholism?

As we mentioned above, society doesn’t consider workaholism a bad thing. In general, sacrificing quality time with family in order to make their lives “better” is socially acceptable.

This is a problem because it gives workaholics a very convenient excuse. “I’m doing it for you” is one of the lines that they say often. It doesn’t matter if they’re sick, on vacation, or off-the-clock. An individual who’s addicted to work goes in sick, puts in extra hours, and doesn’t take vacations.

Many workaholics are freelancers, which makes it even easier for them not to take vacations. Freelancers have a built-in excuse to work all the time and forget their social and family life. Work is everything, so relationships fall by the wayside.

“I turned into a workaholic to the point of where my health was in jeopardy.”

-Tab Hunter-

Advice for a workaholic

Being addicted to work can affect your physical and mental healthThat’s why it’s important to recognize your problem and take some steps to improve. Many businesses have a helpful protocol they use when they notice that an employee is working too much. If you feel that you have a problem, you can apply the same strategy.

Evaluation and therapy

The first piece of advice for someone suffering from workaholism is to get evaluated by a professional and start therapy. Many experts believe that cognitive-behavioral therapy is effective to help individuals make changes in their daily lives.

The following actions are also useful for recovering from a work addiction:

  • Attending workshops focused on developing emotional competency.
  • Learning stress-management techniques to deal with the anxiety that you feel when you’re not working.
  • Find a support group for people in a similar situation.
  • Try to identify the root cause of your work addiction. Why do you seek solace in your job?

Family therapy

When you’re struggling with a work addiction, it’s important for your family to get involved. Work addiction can lead to some pretty unhealthy family dynamics you should work through together.

If you feel that your family doesn’t understand you, it’s easy to use your job as a way to escape from or avoid your problems. That’s another reason why family therapy is absolutely crucial for recovery.

A woman working in a cafe.

The role of employers

While it’s important for you to take charge of your situation and find help, your employer should also have protocols in place for people who work too much.

Some of the things businesses use to discourage workaholism are redesigning positions, making schedules more flexible, having required breaks, and encouraging collaboration. Employers should also be careful not to reward people who work the most hours.

Do you think you have a work addiction? Do you never have time for your friends or family? If the answer to these questions is “yes”, then you should seek help. If you’re addicted to work, there are many different things you can do to recover.

Perhaps you’re terrified of not having enough money or going to work is a way to avoid arguments at home. Whatever the reason, there’s a solution for you. Any kind of addiction is a problem. The most important thing you can do is figure out the root cause and ask for help.

  • del Líbano Miralles, M., Soria, M. S., Schaufeli, W. B., & Gumbau, S. L. (2006). Adicción al trabajo: concepto y evaluación (I). Gestión práctica de riesgos laborales: Integración y desarrollo de la gestión de la prevención, (27), 24-30.
  • Quiceno, J., & Vinaccia Alpi, S. (2007). LA ADICCION AL TRABAJO “WORKAHOLISM”. Revista Argentina de Clínica Psicológica, XVI (2), 135-142.
  • Schaufeli, W. B., Soria, M. S., Gumbau, S. L., & del Líbano Miralles, M. (2006). Adicción al trabajo: acciones preventivas (II). Gestión práctica de riesgos laborales: Integración y desarrollo de la gestión de la prevención, (28), 18-24.