Work Addiction • San Jose Addiction Counseling
People have joked about the term “workaholism” for years. Although the term workaholic usually has a negative connotation, it is sometimes used by people wishing to express their devotion to one’s career in positive terms.
For for those affected by this behavioral addiction – both the addict and their families – workaholism has the potential to ruin lives in a similar manner to other addictions, but it can also be helped with addiction counseling like other addictions.
Defining Work Addiction
Work addiction is an unrestrained, unfulfillable internal demand for constant engagement in work and a corresponding inability to relax. A person with work addiction, a “workaholic,” is incessantly driven, relentlessly active. Work is the one organizing and effective activity.
For some work addicts, inactivity or activity other than work gives rise to guilt, anxiety, or emptiness. Some individuals view work as the only area in which they can establish and maintain their identities, feel effective, and enjoy feelings of importance, validation, and affirmation. Others may use work to counteract underlying feelings of inadequacy and ineffectiveness. In either case, the workaholic cannot rest.
Why We Become Addicted to Work
Experts say the incessant work-related activity masks anxiety, low self-esteem, and intimacy problems. As with addictions to alcohol, drugs or gambling, workaholics’ denial and destructive behavior will persist despite feedback from loved ones or danger signs such as deteriorating relationships. Poor health is another warning sign. Because there’s less of a social stigma attached to workaholism than to other addictions, health symptoms can easily go undiagnosed or unrecognized, say researchers.
Workaholics feel the urge of being busy all the time, to the point that they often perform tasks that aren’t required or necessary for project completion. As a result, they tend to be inefficient workers, since they focus on being busy, instead of focusing on being productive.
In addition, workaholics tend to be less effective than other workers because it’s difficult for them to be team players, they have trouble delegating or entrusting co-workers, or they take on so much that they aren’t as organized as others. Furthermore, workaholics often suffer sleep deprivation which results in impaired brain and cognitive function.
Like with other psychological addictions, workaholics are unable to see that they have a problem. Confronting the workaholic will generally meet with denial. Co-workers, family members and friends may need to engage in some type of an intervention to communicate the effects of the workaholic’s behavior on them.
Recovery From Work Addiction
Indeed, mental treatment to cure a workaholic can successfully reduce the hours spent on the job, while increasing the person’s productivity. Studies show that fully recovered former workaholics are able to accomplish in 50 hours what they previously couldn’t do in 80. As a Certified Addictions Treatment Counselor and Psychotherapist, I can help you to take control over your addiction.