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While most people strive for success and fulfilment in careers, work addiction, or ‘workaholism’, is a behavioural addiction, causing a compulsive need to work, that can adversely affect other aspects of your life.

You may be called a ‘workaholic’ or ‘perfectionist’ by colleagues, but this does not necessarily mean that you are addicted to your job role. Work addiction is indicated by a preoccupation with working and can develop because of an intrinsic desire to achieve a certain status or level of success.

What are the Signs of Work Addiction?

  • Approval-seeking: the workaholic’s identity is tied up with their work; it justifies their existence and becomes a means of gaining approval from others
  • Low self-esteem: being very conscious about their image, workaholics believe that overworking earns them admiration
  • Control issues: workaholics work as a means to cope with life’s uncertainties and try to gain a measure of control over otherwise uncontrollable aspects of life
  • Authority issues: they are vulnerable to succumbing to figures of authority in a search for approval, even if it means surrendering or lowering themselves or their values
  • Perfectionism: workaholics tend to make unreasonable demands upon themselves. They might extend this expectation to those around them, both at work and in their relationships
  • Escapism: they also use work as a way of escaping having to deal with everyday emotions
  • Preoccupation: like other addicts, workaholics overwork and, when not doing so, obsess about it to the point that their lives become out of balance which adversely impacts their health and relationships
  • Lying: they may begin to mislead, themselves and others, about their work habits. They also may lie about past successes and failures, exaggerating the former and minimising or fabricating the latter.

Find out more about other addictions