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Workaholic: causes and symptoms of workaholism

Workaholic: causes and symptoms of workaholism

November 27, 2021

Do you spend most of your time working? Do you usually take work home? Do they frequently call you by phone for work after hours? Do you complain continually that you lack time? Are your conversations usually about work?

If you have answered affirmatively to these questions, it is quite possible that you have become a "workaholic" or workaholic.

What is a workaholic?

Wayne Oates proposed the term of workaholic to name the person with work dependence. For Oates, her own relationship with work was like the one alcoholics have with drinking: a continuous and uncontrollable need to 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 their work, an irresistible impulse to work constantly and the almost complete abandonment of leisure activities.

Common symptoms of workaholism

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

They usually take work home pending, do not disconnect the weekend and on vacation they take the laptop to continue working.


Workaholic profile

The most characteristic profile of the workaholic is:

  • A special work attitude . Make great efforts to perform to the maximum and always try to increase their achievements. It does not usually reject new projects, clients or work responsibilities.
  • Excessive dedication of your time and effort . He usually works more than 45 hours a week, most days, usually taking work home.
  • A 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 can not work he becomes nervous or irritable.
  • General disinterest for any activity other than strictly labor . His main topic of conversation is work, leisure time he dedicates to work, and if he is doing another activity he is thinking about the work he has to do.

Effects and consequences for physical and mental health

According to studies by the World Health Organization (WHO), Workaholism can lead to a mental and physical disorder . Although it is observed in both genders, it mostly affects male professionals between 35 and 50 years old, in liberal professions or middle management: executives, doctors, journalists, lawyers, politicians, etc. These people focus their life at work and are not usually aware of the problem, being their family or social environment that suffers the consequences.


The problems experienced by the person addicted to work are similar to those of other addictions, their relationships being normally affected inside and outside the work environment, which translates into family and social conflicts and, even in a low work performance. In addition, conflicts often arise in the workplace, since they tend to be perfectionists who demand a lot from themselves, and also from others.

The most common consequences are: anxiety, stress, insomnia or sleep disturbances, depression, problems in relationships of family or couple, tendency to social isolation, inability to relax, fatigue, irritability, and health problems such as muscle tension, cardiovascular disorders , hypertension, gastric problems, ulcers, etc. In addition, alcohol, stimulants and tobacco are often abused.

The cause is in the culture

The high value granted by our society to success and high professional performance make social and work environments conducive to the development of workaholics. Addiction to work, 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 work environment.

Bibliographic references:

  • Alonso-Fernández F. (2003) The addiction to work. In The new addictions. Madrid: TEA editions, 225-261.
  • Moreno, B., Gálvez, M., Garrosa, H. & Rodríguez, R. (2005). The addiction to work. Behavioral psychology, 13 (3), 417-428.
  • Salanova, M., Del Líbano, M., Llorens, S., Schaufeli, W.B. & Fidalgo, M. (2008). The addiction to work. National Institute for Safety and Hygiene at Work.

How to stop being a workaholic forever: #1 ROOT CAUSE OF WORKAHOLICS REVEALED (November 2021).


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