Are you a Workaholic?

Many people confuse hard-working people with workaholics. Workaholism means that you value work over any other activity, even when it negatively affects your health and family, as well as the quality of your work. On the other hand, there are many people who put in long hours,

but still give back to their loved ones and enjoy outside activities when they have free time. These people are hard workers, not workaholics. There is a very serious distinction between the two.


When work becomes all consuming and joyless – that is, you go well beyond what’s necessary and have no other interests or activities – it becomes a negative addiction. Workaholics work because they have nothing else to take its place. Their work addiction is a recurring obsession, and typically joyless.

These days too many people are being labeled (or labeling themselves) “workaholics” just for putting in a few extra hours per week. The truth is that in this poor economy, many of these people are working extra hard just to keep their jobs. Realworkaholics have few (if any) outside interests. They let their family lives fall apart. They often have health problems and suffer from depression and deep insecurities. Like any addiction, they repeat destructive behaviors despite knowing that they’re destructive. Many would like to stop, but find it difficult or impossible to do so.

Workaholics should not be confused with people who are simply hard workers, love their jobs and go the extra mile to finish a project. By contrast, a workaholic is someone who constantly thinks about work, and without work feels anxious and depressed. Workaholics are difficult to get along with, because they frequently push others as hard as they push themselves.

If you think you’re a workaholic, there are mental health specialists who can help. Look for someone with professional training, such as a licensed social worker, psychologist, counselor or psychiatrist, who specializes in work-related problems. Research suggests that a cognitive approach to counseling workaholics can be very helpful. This type of therapy focuses on thinking through negative behavior by looking at a patient’s perceptions, premises and beliefs about work. Family counseling also can repair some of the damage done to relationships by workaholic behavior.