Is Overworking Driving You Crazy?
Workaholism linked to psychiatric disorders
Does your work take priority over your social life, family, even your
health? Do you work to escape from problems at home, or because
being alone with your thoughts makes you anxious?
Researchers at the University of Bergen in Norway have examined the
associations between workaholism and psychiatric disorders among 16,426
working adults and found “Workaholics scored higher on all the psychiatric
symptoms than non-workaholics.”
Of particular concern is the high percentage of ADHD, anxiety and depression. In
summary, over a third (33.8%) of workaholics met Anxiety criteria, and about a
quarter (25.6%) met criteria for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Incidents of Depression were also much higher for workaholics (8.9%) than non-workaholics (2.6%). 32.7% of workaholics also met criteria for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Researcher and Clinical Psychologist, Schou Andreassen suggests, “taking work
to the extreme may be a sign of deeper psychological or emotional issues”.
However, uncertainty remains regarding cause and effect.
It is not clear if overlapping genetic vulnerabilities and disorders lead to
workaholism or, conversely, workaholism is the cause of such psychiatric
Could you be a workaholic?
Being a “hard-worker” is not the same as a being a workaholic. Workaholism has been defined as “being overly concerned about work, driven by an uncontrollable work motivation, and to investing so much time and effort to work that it impairs other important life areas.” Andreassen, (2014)
Workaholism shares many features of an addictive behavior.
The researchers identified Seven diagnostic criteria for workaholism.
The Bergen Work Addiction Scale measures workaholism using the same approach used in substance addictions. mood modification, conflict, tolerance, withdrawal, relapse and problems.
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