Treatment for Work Addiction

WHAT IS WORK ADDICTION?

A compulsivity to work can be viewed by many as a good thing and even actively encouraged. Justified as a primary need to provide for oneself and loved ones, the lines can be blurred between what is healthy and what is not. Often driven by a need to succeed or achieve a certain status, it can also be used as an escape from emotional stress or difficult circumstances.

Work Addiction or Workaholism as it is sometimes known is generally accepted as a genuine mental health condition. Shame and perfectionism being common traits, work and achievement create a sensation of pleasure, a temporary high that works in the same way that drugs do to an addict. In a persistent search for this high an addict finds themself unable to stop despite negative consequences. The effects can be as far reaching and destructive as any other addiction.

In considering your behaviour it is worth asking the following questions:

  • Do you try and create more free time to allow you to work more?
  • Do you work to avoid guilt, anxiety or depression?
  • Have you ignored requests to reduce your working hours?
  • Does the notion of not being able to work trigger distress?
  • Do you sacrifice hobbies, activities and socialising in order to work more?
  • Does your work impact on your physical health?

Universally accepted as a instrument for assessing the degree of the condition The Bergen Work Addiction Scale may provide more clarity.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS AND EFFECTS?

The reality is that this is a real mental health condition that can have a far reaching physical and emotional effect on one’s life. It is no less harmful than alcohol or drug addiction in these aspects of your life, although typically it is culturally more acceptable.

Symptoms may include:

  • Obsessing with work to the extent that you lose sleep
  • Finding yourself working for unnecessarily extended periods
  • No achievement in the workplace ever seeming enough
  • Using work to cope with feelings

The physical effects can be sleep deprivation, exhaustion and a general neglect of physical well being. Emotionally, as with most addictions, it can lead to depression, anxiety, low self esteem and guilt.

HOW CAN IT BE TREATED?

As with most behavioural addictions there are many ways of treating workaholism. There is no set method or type of intervention that works for everyone. Various therapies have proven successful in the past including:

At the Camino Recovery Centre we provide a safe space in order to explore and express emotional blocks. Let our team of experienced professionals aid you in the process of identifying and working through the issues that hinder your functioning and ability to truly connect.

Call now for a free assessment with one our specialists.

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