Tue | May 30, 2023

Addicted to my job

Published:Sunday | May 2, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Do you get more excited about work than anything else in your life? Do you take work with you to bed or home on weekends?

If somewhere in your consciousness these questions demand a 'yes', then you may be addicted to your job to an extent which may be counterproductive.

Experts note that if put in more than 50 hours per week to your job, you could be addicted. Work addiction is said to affect about eight per cent of all workers.

Clinical psychologist based at the University Hospital of the West Indies Dr Kai Morgan has stated that, indeed, individuals can be addicted to work.

"They tend to use work as a coping mechanism, an avoidant one. This pretty much works like any other addiction, as the energies are channelled into something else while the underlying problem is left to fester.

"It is also less detectable because work is considered something positive and therapeutic, so to make the decision that it is 'overboard' is a little more difficult. These addicts are also called workaholics."

In early March, researchers from the Jaume I University in Spain announced research proving the usefulness of DUWAS, a new scale for measuring addiction to work, a disorder that affects around 12 per cent of all working people in that country. The results were published in the Spanish journal Psicothema. The new scale, called DUWAS (Dutch Work Addiction Scale), used by psychhologists and others to measure work addiction.

One should not be obsessing about work if you are not at work.

Are your long work hours hurting other relationships in your life? The problem can and often results in physical and mental- health issues, low job and family satisfaction, and low job performance.

If any of what we have said here resonates with you, it's time to change the harmful habit of dedicating too much time to work.

According to Dr Morgan, workaholics stay busy with work and leave little time for anything else.

"There is a compulsive aspect to this behaviour, which becomes the primary aspect of the workaholic's life. Workaholics neglect their health, their family life, their friends and their spiritual life, all in favour of work."

"There's an underlying belief among workaholics that work will provide the big payoff at some point, allowing the workaholic to get out of the game. But this time never comes. There's always more to do. Unlike people who simply work hard, workaholics don't enjoy taking a break and will often eat meals while working. Often workaholics are perfectionists who never feel they've done enough."

The treatment for workaholism can be approached from a cognitive-behavioural perspective, Dr Morgan advised.

"It involves working with the person on decreasing the work habit and instituting rewards for same etc., while from a psychodynamic approach, explorations can be made in counselling regarding the underlying need that is being unmet and that is channelled into one's work."


Signs of work addiction include:

Taking work to bed or home on weekends.

Being late or missing dates with friends and family because you are working.

Thinking it's fine to work long because you love what you do.

Fear that if you work hard you'll be a labelled a failure?

taking on lots of work because only you can do it right.

Getting irritated when friends or family ask you to spend time with them.