Workaholism, or work addiction, is the harmful process by which a person works compulsively while ignoring other parts of their lives, such as family, friends, hobbies, and one’s personal health. There is commonly a co-occurring addiction to achievement, which is often times reinforced by the employer and social norms. The “outgrind, outhustle, and outwork everyone” mindset is celebrated and perpetuated in Silicon Valley, but proving to be a real clinical concern amongst individuals in the community.
Negative effects of workaholism include burnout and dissatisfaction with work, constant preoccupation about work (when not working), feeling guilty or anxious when not working, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, perfectionism, work binges, irritability, self-neglect, difficulty relaxing, and feeling inadequate.
Therapy for work addiction starts with a thorough evaluation of the problem and interfering variables, such as approval-seeking, personal relationships, and self-esteem. The focus of therapy then turns to teaching clients how to recognize and challenge the specific beliefs and perspectives that perpetuate the workaholism (i.e. “If I don’t finish this, a disaster will ensue”) as well as establishing realistic expectations and limits.
If you think you might be struggling with workaholism or a work-related addiction, today is a great day to get started! Feel free to contact me (below) and I would be more than happy to be of support and help you gain balance in your life.