Workaholic: causes and symptoms of the workaholic

Do you spend most of your time working ?, do you just take your work home?, Are you often called on the phone to work outside of office hours ?, Do you constantly complain about your lack of time ?, Are your conversations almost always about work?

If you answered yes to these questions, it is quite possible that you have become a “workaholic” or a workaholic.

What is a workaholic?

Wayne Oates proposed that the term workaholic refer to the person dependent on the job. For Oates, his own relationship at work was like that of alcoholics with alcohol consumption: a need for continuous and uncontrollable work that ends up affecting health, well-being and relationships with the environment.

Work addiction is defined as the excessive involvement of the person in his professional activity, an irresistible desire to work constantly and the almost complete abandonment of leisure.

Common symptoms of the workaholic

Workaholics have an urgent need to work and when they don’t, they experience anxiety, depression or irritability. For a workaholic, work is at the center of their life, leaving everything else, including family or friends, in the background.

They usually bring home work on hold, don’t unplug it on weekends, and on vacation take the laptop to keep working.

Workaholic Profile

The most characteristic profile of the workaholic is:

  • A special work attitude. Make a big effort to perform to the maximum and always try to increase your successes. He usually doesn’t dismiss new projects, clients, or job responsibilities.
  • Excessive dedication of their time and effort. He typically works more than 45 hours a week, most of the time, usually bringing work home.
  • Compulsive and involuntary disorder to continue working. He works on weekends, when he is on vacation or even when he is sick, and if he cannot work he becomes nervous or irritable.
  • General disinterest in any activity other than strictly work. His main topic of conversation is work, he spends his free time at work and if he does some other activity, he thinks about the job he needs to do.

Effects and consequences on physical and mental health

According to studies by the World Health Organization (WHO), work addiction can lead to mental and physical disorders. Although observed in both sexes, it mainly affects male professionals between the ages of 35 and 50, in the liberal professions or middle management: executives, doctors, journalists, lawyers, politicians, etc. These people focus their life on work and are generally unaware of the problem, their family or social environment suffering the consequences.

The problems faced by the work addict are similar to those of other addictions, usually affecting their relationships inside and outside the workplace, resulting in family and social conflicts and even poor performance. at work. In addition, they often generate conflict in the workplace itself, as they are usually perfectionists with high demands on themselves and also on others.

The most common consequences are: anxiety, stress, insomnia or sleep disturbances, depression, relationship or family problems, tendency to social isolation, inability to relax, fatigue, irritability and health problems such as muscle tension, cardiovascular problems. , hypertension, gastric problems, ulcers, etc. In addition, he often observes the excessive consumption of alcohol, stimulants and tobacco.

The cause is in the culture

The great value that our company places on success and high professional performance make socio-professional environments conducive to the development of workaholics. Work dependence, like any other addictive behavior, is negative for the subject because it makes him dependent on a situation that harms his psychophysiological health and alters his socio-family and professional environment.

Bibliographical references:

  • Alonso-Fernández F. (2003) Addiction to work. In The new addictions. Madrid: TEA editions, 225-261.
  • Moreno, B., Gálvez, M., Garrosa, H. and Rodríguez, R. (2005). Work addiction. Behavioral Psychology, 13 (3), 417-428.
  • Salanova, M., De Líban, M., Llorens, S., Schaufeli, WB and Fidalgo, M. (2008). Work addiction. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

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