Work Addiction

While many people strive for success, fulfilment and career progression in their respective industries, work addiction, or ‘workaholism’, is a behavioural addiction, causing a compulsive need to work, that can adversely affect other aspects of your life.

You may have been described as a ‘workaholic’ or a ‘perfectionist’ by colleagues at work, although this doesn’t necessarily mean that you are addicted to your job role. Work addiction is compounded by an inability to manage a preoccupation with working, and can develop as a result of an intrinsic desire to achieve a certain status or level of success.

What are the signs of Work Addiction?

Approval-seeking—The workaholic’s identity is in their work; it justifies their existence and is a means of gaining approval from others.

  • Low self-esteem—Overly concerned with image, workaholics believe that overworking earns them admiration.
  • Control issues—They work to cope with life’s uncertainties and try to gain a measure of control over the otherwise uncontrollable.
  • Authority issues—They are prone to succumbing to figures of authority in a search for approval, even if it means surrendering or lowering themselves.
  • Perfectionism—They tend to make unreasonable demands upon themselves. They may or may not extend this expectation to those around them, both at work and in their personal relationships.
  • Escapism—They also use work as a means of escaping having to deal with real-world emotions and feelings.
  • Preoccupation with work—Like clinical addicts, workaholics overwork and, when not at work, obsess about it to the point that their lives become out of balance which negatively affects their own health as well as their relationships.
  • Lying—They may begin to lie, to themselves and others, about their work habits. They also may lie about past successes and failures, exaggerating the former and minimising or falsifying the latter.