Workaholism, related to psychiatric disorders

Addictions are often culturally associated with the small pleasures of life that the majority of the population recognizes as such: sugary or carbohydrate foods, Internet use, tobacco (for smokers), etc.

However, addictive behaviors related to tasks that not everyone can enjoy can also occur. Workaholism is one example.

Workaholism and other associated psychopathologies

Work addiction, or workaholism in English, may sound positive from a short-term productivity perspective, but this has very negative consequences on health. Spending as much time as needed at work changes the rhythms of food and sleep and becomes much more compressed in schedules, hours of rest are short and stress levels skyrocket, more than depleting the body. people’s social life.

However, a study recently published in PLoS ONE it links work addiction not only with health problems, but also with fatigue and poor diet, As is the risk of developing symptoms associated with mental disorders.

OCD, depression ADHD …

The results show a correlation between work addiction and symptom-like similarities with disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Thus, workaholics or workaholics tend to exhibit mental disorders in a greater proportion than the population that does not experience this type of addiction.

This research is based on the study of 1,300 people living in Norway, who completed a series of questionnaire pages. Each of these volunteers was given a score on an option-based workaholism scale such as “how many times in the past year have you worked so hard that your health has suffered?”. But in addition, the questionnaire included questions on the indicators of certain mental disorders.

The link, or significant correlation, between the presence of a workaholic and the symptom sets associated with mental disorders appeared when these data were crossed. More precisely, about 8% of participants showed workaholic trendsAnd among these people, the proportion of people with disorders was much higher.

Specifically, 32.7% of people whose characteristics matched those of the workaholic had symptoms associated with ADHD, While for the rest of the volunteers, the percentage was 12.7%. 25% of them could present with obsessive-compulsive disorder and 33% with stress disorders. Regarding the proportion of people, the description corresponded to the diagnostic criteria for depression in workaholics, it was 9%, or 2.6% among the rest of the group of volunteers.

Conclusions and reflections

These results are not so surprising when you consider how far they can extend the effects of work addiction in modern life. With the widespread use of laptops, tablets and smartphones with Internet access, working hours are increasingly becoming hours that were previously spent on leisure, and are intertwined with household chores and life. personal outside of the office.

New workaholics don’t have a clear reference for when the work side ends and when the hours devoted to leisure, rest or family reconciliation begin. This is why, if previously work addiction was confined to the walls of the building you work in, now those walls have fallen and the horizon of possibilities to add hours of work (and take them away in private life) has spread far beyond. which is sometimes healthy.

In light of studies like these, we can come to a clear conclusion. The tools and strategies to prevent appearances at work must not only bear the responsibility of becoming effective workers in the long term, far from the burnout syndrome which can lower our productivity, but also, above all, they must preserve our level of health. and well-being.

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