There are without a doubt some benefits from being a total workaholic. For one, you’re likely to get ahead of your colleagues quicker if you devote every waking hour to a job. But according to a recent study, the negatives of being a workaholic far outweigh the positives.
Researchers at the University of Bergen in Norway surveyed over 16,000 professionals, and by using the Bergen Work Addiction Scale, determined which subjects qualified as workaholics. The researchers then tested both groups for psychiatric disorders and found that the disorders are much more common in workaholics.
For instance, 34% of the workaholics suffered from anxiety, while only 12% of non-workaholics met the criteria for anxiety disorder. The same imbalance was found in tests for depression, ADHD, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, with workaholics testing higher than non-workaholics in all of them.
"Taking work to the extreme may be a sign of deeper psychological or emotional issues," said researcher Schou Andreasse. "Whether this reflects overlapping genetic vulnerabilities, disorders leading to workaholism or, conversely, workaholism causing such disorders, remain uncertain."
This then becomes a “chicken or the egg?” conundrum. Does workaholism lead to psychiatric disorders, or do certain psychiatric disorders breed workaholics? First, it’s important to understand what makes a workaholic. Some of the criteria used by the researchers include whether or not you often think about making more time for work; working in order to decrease feelings of guilt, anxiety, and depression; spending more time working than initially planned; prioritizing work over leisure activities and exercise, and whether or not work affects your health negatively. Depending on how much each criteria applies to you, you may be a workaholic.
If indeed you do consider yourself a workaholic, this study may be just the thing you need to make a change.
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