How to Overcome Your Work Addiction

  1. Tips for Overcoming Work Addiction
  2. What is work addiction?
  3. Overcome work addiction by achieving work-life balance
  4. Our tips to overcome work addiction
  5. Find a comfortable position in work
  6. Open up to your family and friends
  7. Only complete your current responsibilities
  8. Always consider your own mental health
  9. 10 Signs You May Be Addicted to Work — The Recovery Village Drug and Alcohol Rehab
  10. 1. You think about how you can free up more time for work
  11. 2. You spend more time working than intended
  12. 3. You can’t remember the last time you took a sick day
  13. 4. You have trouble sleeping because you’re thinking about work
  14. 5. Not being able to work stresses you out
  15. 6. Your hobbies get deprioritized because of work
  16. 7. Overworking has negatively impacted your health
  17. 8. Your friends or family have asked you to cut back on work
  18. 9. You work to escape your problems
  19. 10. Your obsession with work is consuming your life
  20. Overcoming Work Addiction
  21. How to Break Your Work Addiction
  22. The promises of work addiction are lies
  23. You can't please everyone all the time
  24. Find meaning outside your job
  25. Break little habits
  26. Start and end your days with something besides work
  27. Ask yourself what really matters to you
  28. When Should Workaholics Seek Help?
  29. What Causes Work Addiction?
  30. Who Is at Risk for Work Addiction?
  31. What Are the Signs of Work Addiction?
  32. The Effects of Untreated Work Addiction
  33. How Work Addiction Is Treated
  34. What to Do If You Relapse Into Work Addiction
  35. How to Pay for Work Addiction Treatment
  36. Work addiction is real – here’s how to kick the habit
  37. Is it possible to be addicted to work?
  38. What causes workaholism?
  39. What are the symptoms of a workaholic?
  40. How do I break my work addiction?
  41. How team leads can help prevent work addiction
  42. Take some time off, really

Tips for Overcoming Work Addiction

How to Overcome Your Work Addiction

Although a work addiction isn’t a medically diagnosed addictive behaviour, many individuals across the globe are addicted to work.

They feel under pressure to meet tight deadlines. They feel the need to work more for the money. They struggle to form and maintain a healthy balance between work and general life.

With greater pressure now placed on our careers, the number of workaholics is rising. Although many individuals will comically brand themselves as ‘workaholics’, there are a number of people out there, suffering from mental health issues; linked to overworking.

Are you struggling to find the balance between work and life? Are you reaching burnout, a common sign of work addiction? If so, it’s time to understand the impacts of work addiction, along with tips to overcome this pressured feeling.

If you’re struggling with mental health issues, looking for positive coping mechanisms, we highly recommend reaching out to professionals today; our team here at Rehab Clinics Group.

What is work addiction?

Work addiction is similar to further addictive behaviours. Being addicted to work can turn into a psychological dependence. Here’s where individuals will work long hours and have a toxic relationship with work and the pressures placed on fulfilling their role.

Of course, a strong work ethic is something many wish for. However, there is a fine line between determination and overworking. Although there is limited research and diagnosis’s on work addiction, there is a high correlation between being addicted to work and mental health issues. wise, there are connections between alternative addictions and workplace pressures.

Being addicted to work can become dangerous. The pressure to continuously maintain a certain level of performance and achievements can become a habit.

Yet, this habit will cause burnout in the long-term if a healthy balance between work and personal life isn’t maintained. Both mental health and physical health can take a knock, reducing quality of life. The concern of further addictive behaviours is also present, known to worsen the situation.

  • Do you struggle to turn down work?
  • Do you spend long hours at work?
  • Is work a priority over your personal life?
  • Are you branded as a workaholic?
  • Does your work week continue into the weekends?
  • Do you feel pressured to meet deadlines or maintain performance?
  • Do your family and friends worry about the pressure you place on yourself with work?

If you answer yes to any of the above, it’s time to break the cycle of work addiction by prioritising work-life balance. Overcome work addiction by truly considering your reality, while actively attempting to find a content place.

Overcome work addiction by achieving work-life balance

Work-life balance is a commonly thrown around phrase. Many individuals are striving for the perfect balance between work and life. Here at Rehab Clinics Group, we understand how difficult this can be to achieve. After all, we are all human.

Yet, it is important to make a conscious effort to overcome work addiction through reaching a healthy balance. Finding an optimal level where comfort in work is experienced will help to influence this balance.

Work-life balance looks this… Where an individual is financially stable, happy with their accomplishments and can complete their work within normal working hours, while also having a high quality personal and social life. Here an individual will place equal value in both work and play.

Work-life balance will differ for everyone. Some individuals thrive off workplace pressure, embracing their responsibilities. Others will struggle more, where a work addiction may be present, causing unhealthy habits. Yet, the common denominator is that everyone will have a personal balance, where both work and personal life work in unison.

See our tips below for reaching work-life balance, helping reduce the potential of work addiction.

Our tips to overcome work addiction

If you’re hoping to achieve a healthier relationship between work and personal life, avoiding work addiction, here’s our useful tips to follow. Although we appreciate this is easier said than done, especially if you’re a business owner or within a high-powered position. However, it is vital to prioritise your mental health.

Find a comfortable position in work

This position will be different for everyone. Yet, finding a place where you’re truly happy with your salary, level of responsibilities and workload is important.

By reaching this level of comfort, you’ll have the energy and motivation to reach comfort in your personal life. Avoid overworking yourself or aiming for that next promotion due to pressure.

If you’re unable to find that level of comfort in your current role, maybe it’s time for a new job?

Open up to your family and friends

Always discuss your balance with your family and friends. They are front row witnesses of your balance, observing your mental health and happiness. Having open discussions about what’s important in your personal life will help you balance the scales with work.

Only complete your current responsibilities

Avoid work addiction by only committing to your current responsibilities. In short, only work your contracted hours which you get paid for. Avoid taking work home, working late into the evenings or weekends. We appreciate this may be easier said than done. However, it is vital to have some downtime and self-care.

Always consider your own mental health

Your own mental health is the most important aspect of the balance. It’s more important than a job or a social event. Always consider the way you feel before work. Work addiction can cause life-changing mental health issues. Avoid this by prioritizing your feelings and mind frame.

If you’re still struggling to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and believe work addiction may be impacting your life, feel free to speak to our team here at Rehab Clinics Group.

We can help you find the balance through a psychologically driven treatment plan. Treatment options such as cognitive behavioural therapy and counselling sessions will be encouraged to help you overcome work addiction.

Get in touch today to achieve a healthy balance between work and your personal life.


10 Signs You May Be Addicted to Work — The Recovery Village Drug and Alcohol Rehab

How to Overcome Your Work Addiction

Have you ever questioned your relationship with work? Maybe you feel so consumed by it that you don’t realize that your life could be different? If your career was taken from you tomorrow, would you feel lost in the world? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then they may be signs you are workaholic. Work addiction is a process addiction that can be all-consuming and difficult to overcome. 

Being dedicated to your career is something to be proud of, but a work-life balance is just as integral to your success.

To understand your relationship with work, read about these common signs of a workaholic to identify if any of these work addiction symptoms are present in your life.

If so, it may be time to reevaluate your relationship with your career and build a better work-life balance.

1. You think about how you can free up more time for work

Are you constantly looking for ways to get in more work time? Maybe you neglect relationships because working on the weekend seems more productive than anything leisurely. Or, you find ways to get events and gatherings because your dedication to your work is more important. 

If you find yourself freeing up time to get more work in, it’s usually a sign that you are working too much.

Even when you are not working, you are constructing ways to get back there, feel productive, and get a dose of adrenaline that work may be providing you with.

You may even be aware of how much you think about work in a 24-hour period, but when you add all that time up, are you ever not working? 

It can be easy to fall into the trap of workaholism, and it usually starts with your thoughts. Be mindful of where your mind goes when you have some time off.

If you find that you’re only able to concentrate on a work project or deadline, you ly aren’t truly being present in your life as a whole. Your work will always be there when you return from time off.

Discover and find ways to properly shut your mind off from work at the end of the workday.   

2. You spend more time working than intended

One of the large contributing factors of work addiction is the fact that most people must work every day to make a living. It is typically not an activity that you can take a break from to regain control.

Even if you are aware of your own work addiction, you may find yourself feeling trapped and thinking what would upper management think about you needing some time to yourself if they are used to you over-performing? 

This thinking plays a big part in your inability to separate yourself from your work. Working too much becomes a part of you — or a necessity for survival — even when your job doesn’t ask it of you.

A 2008 study affirmed that in regard to work addiction, “When work is motivated primarily by psychological needs, rather than the requirements of a job, an addiction is more ly.

” With this knowledge, ask yourself how much of yourself are you willing to give up to remain the high performer you pride yourself on? 

3. You can’t remember the last time you took a sick day

Sick days are important to take, even if you are almost never physically ill. If you work in the corporate world, you get a certain amount of time allotted to be used for sick days, or paid time off. Most of the time, this time is wasted at the end of the year if you never took time for yourself. 

A sick day can go a long way every once in a while. Sick days can help you recoup, focus on your mental health and practice self-care — all of which are vital to your overall health and well-being.

Although you might find using sick days in this way to be somehow dishonest, this time is given to you for a reason. It is unhealthy and unrealistic to expect yourself to work 365 days a year.

Take advantage of your earned sick days — they’re rightfully yours to take — and take some much-needed time to refocus your energy on your physical and mental wants and needs. 

4. You have trouble sleeping because you’re thinking about work

Take a second to think about how much consistent sleep you get each night. Most people need at least seven hours of sleep to be the most functional the next day.

If you’re consistently getting less sleep than that, you most ly need more sleep.

Without a healthy amount of rest, you aren’t able to perform at your best, which is a difficult realization if you are already pushing yourself to the limit. 

If your level of productivity is so important to you, then check in with how much sleep you are getting. Do you stay up late at night worrying about a deadline that is approaching or feeling stressed about a meeting that you have soon? Regardless of the type of work stress-related insomnia you struggle with, recognize that doing so is only hindering your efficacy. 

If you focus on sleep hygiene, you’ll work more productively the day after. There is only so much you can do in a day, so practice separating your mind from work when you’re at home, so that you can fall, and stay, asleep.

5. Not being able to work stresses you out

If not being able to work causes you stress, practice being honest with yourself about the reasons why. Some research indicates that people with work addictions felt the weight of high expectations from their parents during childhood, and therefore tied a sense of approval to success.

You may have taken on the role of a high achiever because, historically, that is when you felt appreciated the most.

However, this realization isn’t to assign blame; it’s important to be conscious of the roots of work addiction.

Fortunately, you are not beholden to your past, and you can make the choice to free yourself from childhood conditioning that no longer serves you in your adult life.

6. Your hobbies get deprioritized because of work

Aside from the time that you give to work, how much time do you put into your own passions and hobbies? You may enjoy the work you do and the effort that you put forth, but making time for activities outside of work is important to your well-being overall. This is how you live authentically, passionately and creatively. Paying your bills on time is a dire need, but so is being able to partake in fulfilling activities that give your life purpose.

7. Overworking has negatively impacted your health

There are many reports of the type of health issues that come with being addicted to work. The effects of being a workaholic can be both physical and psychological.

On the extreme end of the spectrum, some people who lose their job and sense of security are often overwhelmed with thoughts of suicide.

Those who put so much pressure on themselves to support their family may find that losing their job is simply too much to deal with. 

While being in the thick of the effects of workaholism, you may be plagued with a constant state of acute anxiety, experience panic attacks and even back pain. There is no shortage of health problems that can occur when you’re addicted to work. Fear of failure can generate high amounts of adrenaline in your system that can lead to depression, depersonalization and severe fatigue. 

If your self-worth is the amount of work you complete, then your health is already being impacted. There are serious concerns to be worried about if you find yourself overworking, and you have all the more reason to take a sick day.

8. Your friends or family have asked you to cut back on work

Not only does working too much affect you, but workaholism affects your family and friends and can strain your relationships. Your loved ones may feel you are never around, and even when you are present, you may seem distant due to being mentally elsewhere. 

If a loved one has asked you to cut back on work, listen. These conversations can be eye-opening to someone who doesn’t see what they are doing is a problem, but it is important to take into consideration what others are expressing to you.

They care about you and your well-being, and because they are not involved in the work itself, they have a different perspective on the work you do.

It may not be a conversation you want to have because it puts you in a position of having to look at the issue, but that is no reason to avoid the concerns of those closest to you.

9. You work to escape your problems

A big sign for whether you might be addicted to work is using it to avoid emotional pain. Many of those who struggle with work addiction are not even aware of the underlying reasons for it. They have been able to push aside the emotion by jumping headfirst into their work, but all addictions, this is only a temporary solution. 

If emotional avoidance is the main cause of your work addiction, there should be less time spent at the office, and more time spent working on your personal life. This self-work is not easy, but is necessary for personal growth. It may feel as though external work is the most important aspect of your life, but on the contrary, it is the internal work on yourself that can foster growth.

10. Your obsession with work is consuming your life

When you become obsessed with work and do not make time for family, friends, hobbies or even yourself, take a step back and reevaluate your priorities in life. It is admirable to be passionate about your career, but most of the time, that is not the case with work addiction.

You might feel the need to work to compensate for something that is lacking in your life, or maybe you use work as a distraction from the real issue.

When you are away from work, are you still thinking about work to be done, or what you will do tomorrow at work? Take time to think about how you can have time for yourself, the things you are passionate about and the people in your life. You will ly be happier in the moments you create outside of the office.  

Overcoming Work Addiction

When it comes to work, and a career, put boundaries in place that allow you the space you need to breathe, take a break and discover various avenues in life that provide you with more fulfillment than financial success. Memorable experiences, deep conversations and nourishing relationships may not pay the bills, but they certainly do provide a level of wealth to your life that a job cannot. 

If you are unsure of whether you struggle with a work addiction, take a work addiction assessment to understand your symptoms.

Overcoming work addiction begins with establishing a sense of work-life balance for yourself. Aim to be honest with yourself about the work you are doing, both at the office and personally. If you are giving more than you are receiving, it’s time to reevaluate what you find most important in your life.

If you struggle with drug or alcohol abuse and a work addiction, don’t wait to get help. The Recovery Village can help you heal from both issues through comprehensive treatment. Call today to speak with a representative who can help.

  • SourcesSussman, Steven. “Workaholism: A Review.” Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy, January 10, 2012. Accessed July 2, 2019. Freimuth, Marilyn; et al. “Expanding the Scope of Dual Diagnosis and Co-Addictions: Behavioral Addictions.” Journal of Groups in Addiction & Recovery, 2008. Accessed, July 2, 2019.Killinger, Barbara, PhD. “The Workaholic Breakdown – The Loss of Health.” Psychology Today, April 2013. Accessed July 2, 2019.


How to Break Your Work Addiction

How to Overcome Your Work Addiction

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In 1914, just six years after the Ford Model T took America by storm, Henry Ford took a radical, revolutionary step: He doubled his workers' pay and cut shifts in his plants from nine hours to eight.

Benjamin Torode | Getty Images

Not surprisingly, Ford's move was ridiculed by many at the time. But it didn't take long to prove his critics wrong. And to this day, in part thanks to Ford’s innovation, research shows the right amount of work can play a vital role in keeping workers healthy and productive.

What if more of us — especially those of us prone to work addiction — thought Henry Ford?

The promises of work addiction are lies

Ford’s revolutionary decision took place more than half a century before anybody was talking about work addiction. American psychologist Wayne Oates first coined the term “workaholic” in 1971, defining it as “the uncontrollable need to work incessantly.”

But that piece of history reveals a timeless truth: When we work too much, everyone suffers, as shown in this Harvard Business Review article. I’ve personally felt — and given in to — this pressure at my own business.

But there’s actually no evidence that working more has any real benefits for overall outcome. In one study, managers couldn’t tell the difference between workers who actually worked 80 hours a week versus workers who merely pretended to.

Researchers found no evidence that working less meant accomplishing less, or vice versa.

Many of us focus obsessively on work because it feels good to have a purpose. Being talented at something and contributing to a larger cause can certainly improve our lives. But working too much can have the opposite effect.

 Studies suggest that overworking is linked to a number of health problems, including chronic stress, lack of sleep, substance abuse, and even depression.

 Overworking has also been shown to speed up cognitive decline and memory issues, which is counter to the work itself.

No one sets out to be a workaholic. When I stretched myself thin between a job at a software company and my JotForm side hustle, I was just trying to live up to expectations, while creating something useful. I ended up becoming less useful to everyone along the way. Here are some principles I learned — the same ones I practice today when I sense myself veering toward work addiction.

Related: Is Being a Workaholic a Symptom of Anxiety or Depression?

You can't please everyone all the time

A major reason I became a workoholic while launching JotForm was my definition of success: I wanted to please everyone. I didn’t want to let down my manager or colleagues at the software company I worked for (plus, I enjoyed my day job). But I also had aspirations to build my own software. Thinking I could do it all left me burned out. 

If you think pleasing everyone will make you successful, remember that you’ll make fewer people happy in the long run if you burn out. Start by examining your capacity to give. When you are transparent with yourself and others about what you can and can’t do, you’ll produce better work and keep your sanity in tact.

Find meaning outside your job

As mentioned earlier, many of us devote our lives to work because it's satisfying to be good at something. It’s fun to be creative and solve problems, and it’s affirming to be needed. But it's important to have satisfying, creative outlets outside of work as well.

Find purpose in your personal life by investing time in relationships. Take up a hobby writing, photography or painting to keep your creative juices flowing outside the office.

Volunteer at a local organization so you feel you’re helping people in a tangible way. It might feel counter-productive at first, since hobbies and relationships don’t always come with the same quantifiable rewards as pay raises or a new client.

But over time, you'll have something to look forward to other than checking your email. 

Break little habits

Breaking a work addiction isn’t just about changing your mindset. It requires altering habits, too.

For example, if you show your colleagues, manager, and clients that you’re available after hours by answering calls or checking email on the weekend, you’re setting a precedent.

People will expect you to be available at 7 p.m. on a Tuesday or on a Sunday morning, and you’ll perpetuate the cycle.

Think about how your everyday habits perpetuate your larger work behaviors, and then focus on correcting them. For example, when I want to keep my work in the office, I put my phone on «do not disturb» mode after after 6 p.m. and keep my laptop in my briefcase at home. This habit is small, but it trains me to be fully present when I’m with my family.

Related: 4 Ways to Break Your Phone Addiction So You Can Focus on What Really Matters

Start and end your days with something besides work

How you start your morning will set the tone for the rest of your day. If you check your work email before you roll bed, you’re “on” before you even get to the office. Social worker Melody Wilding encourages “book ending” your days with rituals that leave you feeling happy.

“Begin the day with a morning ritual that leaves you feeling happy. It’ll help you create a sense of mastery and self-control, all before you step foot in the office or open your inbox,” she writes. “End the day with a fun activity so you have a reason to leave work on time.

It also gives you something to look forward to and keeps rumination at bay.”

Ask yourself what really matters to you

Ultimately, how you spend your time reflects what you value. If you want to overcome your addiction to work, ask yourself why working less is important to you. How do you want to feel? What do you want to live for? Who do you want to spend more time with?

Remember: By reining in your work addiction, you’re not just working less. You're also improving your health, creativity, and productivity. You're making yourself more available for the things — and people — who matter most to you.

Related: 7 Reasons Why Your Salaried Job Is Crack Cocaine


When Should Workaholics Seek Help?

How to Overcome Your Work Addiction

In our society, being a hard worker is considered an asset.

Not only do we give shout outs to colleagues who burn the midnight oil or put in overtime, they are also often the ones who are rewarded with promotions and bonuses.

While all of us have had the experience of working ourselves hard, most of us can also find time to relax and de-stress. This is not the case for those who have a work addiction, however.

Work addiction is synonymous with being a workaholic. The workaholic is an individual who works and works and works without tiring. Even if the work isn’t necessary, he or she will continue to work. Not only does this cause problems for the work addict, it can create a strain on everyone in their life. This is one of the reasons work addiction is seen as such a serious issue.

What Causes Work Addiction?

There are many factors that can combine to create an environm

  • A desire to be seen as smarter or more competent. Ironically, this often stems from a lack of self-confidence.
  • A belief that self-worth is attached to work. This can come from many sources, such as a parent who instilled that hard work is the only thing that matters in life.
  • A need for constant attention. Work addicts do get quite a bit of attention, especially from supervisors who may take advantage of having a workaholic on their teams.
  • A fear of losing money. Some work addicts come from families where poverty was common. Even if they are now comfortable and earning enough, they always feel they could lose it all in an instant.
  • A fear of change. The workaholic knows how to do their job, but they may not be as accomplished elsewhere. Therefore, the work addict never changes gears or tries anything new.
  • Worry of embarrassment. Many workaholics are perfectionists who never want to be seen as wrong. They worry they’ll make a mistake and embarrass themselves, so they work extra hard on everything they do.
  • Desire to avoid dealing with circumstances. Workaholics may have negative circumstances brewing at home. Rather than deal with emotions or problems, they simply work all the time. It’s a convenient excuse for not facing reality.
  • Loneliness and fear of solitude. The workaholic may see work as a companion or a substitute for human interactions. They may have no relationships, and so they may fear being alone in a house without knowing what to do.

Of course, there’s another snag. Some work addicts honestly love their work! They simply to work all the time, to the detriment of everything else. Even so, what they may not realize is they’re setting themselves up to burn out.

Who Is at Risk for Work Addiction?

Are you starting to see a pattern? Do you feel you could be at risk and need help with work addiction? Check the following risk factors to see if they pertain to your situation:

  • You have suffered from addictions before. You may even still be addicted to drugs, nicotine, alcohol, food or some other substance or behavior.
  • You cannot turn off work. It’s all you’re able to think about, even when you aren’t on the job.
  • You are a perfectionist. You want everything to be right, including the work of you and your colleagues. In fact, you often redo coworkers’ assignments to ensure they are perfect and up to your standards.
  • You being known as a workaholic. This is a badge you wear proudly because you believe it sets you apart from everyone else.
  • You do everything in an all-or-nothing capacity. You believe if you do something, you must always do it to the max.
  • You come from a family of workaholics. Your mother and/or father always worked around the clock, and that’s where your comfort zone lies. You can’t imagine being home for your kids’ soccer tournaments, or to watch the evening news with your family.
  • You overcoming obstacles such as the need to sleep or the desire to stop working. This makes you feel powerful and alive. It gives you a feeling of pleasure to know you’re pushing yourself harder than anyone else.

Do these risk factors sound familiar to you? If so, get help for your work addiction. Workaholics are actually under tremendous stress and strain, and that can take a toll over time. Reach out to a therapist who has experience dealing with people who are work addicts.

What Are the Signs of Work Addiction?

Whether you have work addiction or someone you care about could be a work addict, these are the commonly-seen symptoms exhibited by work addicts:

  • There is no delineation between your work and home life. The two are basically the same, with work being more important.
  • Vacations are always working vacations. There is no break for you.
  • You usually stay at the office later than all your colleagues, and you may return to the office after hours to continue working.
  • Close family members and friends complain about how often you work.
  • You have lost relationships, possibly marriages, because of your workaholism.
  • You have strained relationships with your colleagues who are not work addicts and see your addictive behavior as a threat.
  • You cannot take a break from work without feeling a failure.
  • The thought of being alone and not having work to do is devastating and scary.
  • You constantly fear you’re not working hard enough to keep up.
  • You worry you’ll lose your job if you stop working.
  • You have been diagnosed with another addiction.
  • You have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD.
  • You would do anything for your work, including losing all contact with your friends and family.
  • You have neglected your own health for your job, including not going to medical appointments or staying in shape.
  • You dream about work.
  • You are unable to delegate any work to others.
  • You frequently suffer from insomnia, headaches and stomach problems.

Learn more about the common signs of a work addiction here. Rather than continuing to suffer through work addiction, it’s time to find someone who understands. Don’t try to solve an issue with work addiction alone. It’s much better to get into counseling.

The Effects of Untreated Work Addiction

What happens if work addiction is allowed to continue without any kind of treatment? Several possibilities can occur:

  • You may find yourself without any support network, as friends and family tire of how often you work.
  • You may begin to experience physical problems associated with high levels of stress, such as obesity and hypertension.
  • You may be unable to sleep at night.
  • You may begin to have anxiety attacks when you aren’t working.
  • You may lose your job because you are unable to relate to your peers or supervisor.

These are all serious factors related to untreated work addiction, but you can treat your work addiction with assistance from the pros.

How Work Addiction Is Treated

Experts who treat work addicts usually take a step-by-step approach to help the addict step back and begin to better balance work and life.

Because it’s not feasible for most people to stop working altogether, this minimal, conservative approach works best.

However, if you’re able to completely leave your job (or you’ve lost your job because of workaholism), you may be in a position to completely stop working.

Some of the steps involved in treating work addiction include:

  • Engaging in therapy – This may be one-on-one therapy, group therapy or a combination of the two. Therapy helps workaholics get to the heart of why they feel so compelled to work long hours despite the negative effects. Meeting with a counselor may occur on a daily or almost daily basis for the initial phase of work addiction treatment.
  • Journaling – When in therapy, the workaholic will ly be given directives to write down their feelings and work addiction triggers. By doing so, it will be possible to see patterns that have developed over time. For example, a trigger for workaholism may be seeing the mortgage bill each month. At the sight of the bill, the addict could become anxious and worry they will not be able to pay next month. A way to make this less impactful is to have someone else pay the bills.
  • Delegating – Workaholics have trouble delegating any kind of work to their coworkers. But by forcing themselves to start doing so, they can find incredible freedom from their work addiction. This can be very challenging at first, but it is usually a good start toward freedom from workaholism.
  • Setting Boundaries – It’s important to have clear boundaries between home and the office. A workaholic may not naturally be able to set these boundaries, so treatment can help achieve this goal. The boundary might be literal or figurative.
  • Stopping Work – Workaholics tend to live in a race against the clock, but they can use the clock to their advantage when in treatment. By stopping work at the same time each day (and starting at the same time), they have a finite amount of hours in which to get their work done. When their time is up, they have to wait until the next day to start again. This is not without its stumbling blocks, especially when deadlines creep up, but it is a powerful way to establish work-life balance.
  • Planning the Day – One of the problems work addicts have is they can’t think beyond the job. In therapy, many learn to plan their days. This includes adding time for family interests, going to the gym, shopping, reading, watching television, cooking, etc. Having a plan that’s simple to follow can lead to better choices when it comes to handling workaholism tendencies.
  • Saying No to Assignments – A work addict may have to begin saying no to supervisors who are accustomed to giving them copious amounts of work. Saying no can be difficult, and supervisors may not understand. This can lead to friction, but it is necessary for the long-term health of the work addict.
  • Going to Meetings – alcoholics, workaholics may find comfort in going to regular group meetings of people who are also struggling with work addiction. Finding a meeting location in your region may be difficult, but thankfully, there are work addict therapy groups online. One caveat to remember: Don’t start sharing war stories or techniques. This can lead to relapse.

What to Do If You Relapse Into Work Addiction

Relapse is not uncommon among work addicts. In fact, many work addicts will have to go through relapses several times before they are able to fully move past their work addictions. Thus, relapsing should not be treated as if it’s an unexpected eventuality.

If you are in treatment for your work addiction and you feel yourself slipping back into your old habits, it’s time to take immediate steps:

  • Contact your therapist and schedule an appointment.
  • Start journaling again if you stopped.
  • Start planning out every day.
  • Give yourself permission to forgive yourself for relapsing.
  • Apologize to your family (if applicable) for your relapse and ask for their help.

This will help you avoid further relapses and keep you grounded.

How to Pay for Work Addiction Treatment

If your work addiction is related to fears about money, you may have trouble justifying the need for therapy, especially if you have to pay pocket. Yet it’s essential you begin to look past the initial investment and start to think about the benefits to getting treatment:

  • You’ll be able to have stronger relationships with the people in your life, including your children. This can go a long way toward making sure you don’t lose the connection with your spouse or your kids. Many workaholics are seen by their sons and daughters as unloving parents. Don’t allow this to happen to you.
  • You’ll be healthier overall. If you have time away from the office, you’ll be able to eat better and get more sleep. Not only is this good for you physically, you’ll be better supported emotionally, too.
  • You’ll have time to try new hobbies or take up a sport. Have you wanted to try cycling, weight lifting or just walking? Now you’ll actually be able to try something you’ve been putting off because you’ve been too busy at work.
  • You won’t feel as anxious all the time. Most work addicts live under 24/7 stressors (usually of their own making). Instead of dealing with high anxiety levels, you can finally learn how to relax.
  • You can enjoy vacations. Holidays and trips should be a time for you to explore locales and take a break from your hectic schedule. By turning off your devices and leaving work at the office, you’ll discover pleasures you never realized existed.

Many insurance plans now cover therapy, whether it’s related to work addiction or not.

Even if your insurance only covers a part of your therapy sessions, it’s still a great advantage and will save you some money as you get help with being a workaholic.

Remember you cannot put a price on your mental and physical health. If you’re a work addict, you deserve to find out just how amazing life can be when you’re not constantly saddled by work-related items.


Work addiction is real – here’s how to kick the habit

How to Overcome Your Work Addiction

  • Work addiction is the compulsion or the uncontrollable need to work incessantly.
  • any addiction, work addiction may stem from underlying psychological needs and may have a negative impact on health, relationships, and, ironically, job performance.
  • Breaking a work addiction may require large and small actions on the part of the individual; however, supervisors should also work to create a culture where true time off is valued.
  • I’m not sure exactly how high my fever is but it has definitely hit the delirious cold-sweat range. 

    It’s just a b flu. It will pass. But in the moment, it feels debilitating. My most pressing concern is my phone and the fact that it’s reach. It is not, however, because I want to text my partner for ibuprofen, soup, or another blanket (all of which I do very much want). 

    No. I have Slack on my phone. I can check in with the rest of my team. I have things to do. I have emails to answer, notifications to respond to, checklists to finish. I have to work. 

    Sure, I gave my editor the heads up I wouldn’t be in. Sure, he’d told me in no uncertain terms that I was to rest up and not worry; everything would be handled. 

    But what if…? 

    This wasn’t the first time I’d tortured myself for not being at work. I’d had a crisis of conscience for taking two days off at Thanksgiving. Over winter break, I’d completed work tasks in secret because I knew my editor would tell me – as he’d already told others – to stop. He’d make me go bond with my family, or gorge myself on pastries, or do literally anything but work. 

    So why can’t I disconnect, even when I have a good reason? 

    It’s not, as it turns out, due to a hyper-refined work ethic. Rather, I’m an addict, and my job is my drug of choice.

    Is it possible to be addicted to work?

    Yes, work addiction is a real condition. Psychologist Wayne E. Oates coined the term “workaholic” in his 1971 book, Confessions Of A Workaholic: The Facts About Work Addiction.

    According to Oates, workaholics felt the “compulsion or the uncontrollable need to work incessantly.

    ” And, much alcoholism (and other addictions), work addiction has been known to damage an individual’s health, happiness, interpersonal relationships, and ability to function socially. 

    Despite that, 48% of Americans self-identify as workaholics – and for many, this a proud identification. Being a “workaholic” is often synonymous with dedication, ambition, and initiative.

    Employees are exhorted by managers to consistently go “above and beyond.” Raises, promotions, and other perks are handed out to those who take on “extra responsibilities.

    ” If an employee refuses a task because it’s not part of their job, they’re at risk of being viewed as difficult and “not a team player.” 

    Contemporary researchers, however, such as Malissa A. Clark, Ph.D., make an important distinction between “work addiction” and “work engagement.” According to Clark, the difference comes down to motivation.

    “Engaged workers are driven to work because they find it intrinsically pleasurable – they truly enjoy it – while workaholics are driven to work because they feel an inner compulsion to do so,” she wrote in an article for FastCompany.

    So how do you tell the difference between a compulsive employee and an enthusiastic one? The key is to determine what’s driving their behavior.

    What causes workaholism?

    Much substance addiction, there are myriad reasons why someone becomes addicted to work. 

    The first and most basic is that work addiction fulfills an underlying psychological need. Similar to alcohol or other substances, work can become an escape.

    Rather than facing and dealing with uncomfortable or unpleasant feelings and situations, the individual immerses themselves in work tasks.

    The worker may literally escape a situation by going to work outside regular hours, or this escape can be more figurative – perhaps instead of paying attention to family or personal dynamics, they think about work-related topics. 

    Work addiction may also stem from overcompensation. If someone feels less competent in another area of their life – family, social life, hobbies, etc. – they may devote excessive time and energy to work-related tasks in order to achieve that feeling of competency and validation. 

    The worker may also be reliving old patterns. It could be related to an inability to establish boundaries, attempts to gain approval, or a trauma-related coping mechanism. 

    That said, work addiction may also be the result of underlying or coexisting mental health conditions, particularly ones such as obsessive-compulsive disorder or bipolar disorder. In addition, work addiction can also cause conditions depression if not treated. 

    What are the symptoms of a workaholic?

    Someone with a work addiction may show classic signs working long hours, prioritizing work over other responsibilities and obligations, or being obsessed with work-related success. However, these symptoms may manifest differently in different people. 

    Psychotherapist Bryan Robinson identified four types of workaholics: 

    • Procrastinating workaholics, who put off work until the last minute and then rush to finish. 
    • Bulimic workaholics, who either perform perfectly or not at all. 
    • Attention-deficit workaholics, who begin multiple projects, but get bored and move on to other challenges. 
    • Bureaupathic workaholics, who prolong tasks and create additional work. 

    It’s important to keep in mind that there are no clear-cut parameters when it comes to identifying work addiction. It’s natural to want a list of boxes to check off that will provide a definite yes or no answer, because conditions addiction are rarely ever so simple. With that in mind, there are a few things you can look out for as potential indicators of work addiction:

    • Working long hours when not necessary
    • Losing sleep in order to work
    • Work-related obsessions
    • Paranoia and intense fear over work performance
    • Deteriorating relationships with others as a result of work
    • Neglecting personal health and well-being due to work
    • Missing significant events or milestones due to work 

    Any of these traits on their own, or that occur infrequently, are not necessarily definitive proof someone is addicted to their work. But multiple statements that apply to someone over a period of time may indicate a more serious problem.

    How do I break my work addiction?

    I’ll be honest with you: There is no simple fix for work addiction. I know that’s not the cheeriest conclusion to come to, but it’s best to rip the Band-Aid off fast. 

    The fact is, work addiction is an addiction. That doesn’t mean it’s hopeless; it’s just important to be realistic. The first step – as cliché as it sounds – is to recognize that there is a problem.

    If you’re unable to break your addiction on your own, it’s a good idea to consult with your doctor about the best way to move forward.

    There are both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs that can help manage your compulsive behaviors, though not everyone will need to go that route. 

    That said, a mental health assessment can be beneficial, especially if you haven’t checked up on your mental health in a while. As I said earlier, some mental health conditions can cause or exacerbate work addiction, and vice versa. 

    An alternative to formal, one-on-one therapy is attending group therapy, such as a 12-step group Workaholics Anonymous, which has a self-assessment questionnaire on their site, as well as an assortment of resources.  

    If you have a good relationship with your manager or a member of human resources, they may be able to help you access resources or assist in other ways. 

    In addition to therapy, lifestyle changes can also improve your ability to handle your work addiction. These can be very simple changes, taking up a new hobby, or as substantial as changing career. 

    And while a listicle won’t cure a work addiction, there are some very quick, simple things you can try, including:

    • A digital detox. Section out time in your day to be device-free. Read a book, go for a walk, listen to a (not work-related) podcast, bake cookies – whatever works for you. Grab some time and switch everything off. 
    • Mindfulness. It’s not for everyone, but it can be helpful. Meditation or mindfulness can provide emotional insight, improve concentration, and enhances awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and body. 
    • Sleep properly. Stress is exhausting, and if you have a work addiction, you are definitely stressed. More to the point, everyone needs a good night’s sleep, and very few of us actually get enough healthy rest. If you’re lying awake thinking work thoughts, get up and do something. Change the channel your brain is on. Distract yourself, in other words. I audio books (actor Adjoa Andoh‘s voice is so soothing), or a podcast Lore by Aaron Mahnke. (I’m a nerd, okay?) also has loads of “sleep music” playlists which will do in a pinch.
    • Don’t say “yes.” I’m a “yes” person. You ask for something? OK, I’ll do it. I may be stretched way beyond capacity, but I’ll take on one more thing anyway. Don’t do that. You don’t have to say no; just say, “Let me get back to you.” Take some time to evaluate your resources. This goes for volunteering, too. Ask yourself: Do you have time for the task? Do you have the mental and physical space to take it on? Are you already over-extended? What happens if you decline? (It’s shocking how often the answer to that is the thing gets done anyway.) 
    • Simplify. Choose one priority task per day. One. Focusing on just the one task in front of you means that you’re less ly to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of things to do. One of the key things to remember is: work smarter, not harder. 
    • Nominate a buddy. Whether it’s a colleague, friend, or family member, find someone who will hold you accountable and clue them in. Make sure it’s someone who will be supportive and able to call you out when necessary. It’s hard to break a habit if you don’t realize you’re doing it, and those around us are often more aware of our behaviors than we are. 
    • Find your work/life balance. I know it sounds generic. I know it’s not simple. But work/life balance is important, and attainable. When I was working on my thesis, my coach made me schedule a day off every week. There were two rules: I had to take it no matter what and I couldn’t do anything related to my thesis. The first month or so was difficult. I felt guilty, lazy, and I wasn’t trying hard enough. Eventually, though, I began to relax into it. Taking a day off actually made the rest of the week feel less stressful. 
    • Track your hours. I use Hubstaff, but anything will do. Not only do I track how many hours I work a day, I also track how much time I spend doing individual tasks. At the end of the week, I can see how much time I’ve spent writing blog posts, editing for my colleagues, or even attending meetings. Then hold yourself accountable. If you spent longer on a task than it should’ve taken, ask yourself why. How often are you working long hours? Is there a way you can arrange your tasks and responsibilities to change that?

    How team leads can help prevent work addiction

    If you’re a supervisor, you can play a key role in helping your team avoid work addiction. Here’s how:

    • Encourage people to take some time off. Assure them ( my supervisor did), that they can truly unplug from work while they’re away. If you sense that a team member has anxiety about this, talk to them about their particular concerns and help them identify where and how their work can be routed during their absence.
    • Create a culture that respects people’s work-life balance. Avoid sending emails or messages late at night or on the weekends so people don’t feel that they have to respond. If you’re generally a night owl or early bird, be sure that everyone knows you don’t expect responses when they’re offline. (And be really sure. Remind people often. Saying it once might not be enough.)
    • Lead by example. Take time off yourself. Let your staff know that you won’t be checking email, Slack, or other messages during that time. Make sure people have your cell number in case of emergency, but be sure to define “emergency” as a truly catastrophic event. 
    • Empower people to say “no.” Give team members a framework for learning how to field requests that might interfere with their other work. 
    • Protect your team members’ time and focus. When other teams request resources from your people, make sure your folks truly have the time and bandwidth to assist. If they don’t, take it upon yourself to shift their assignments or find a way to divert the request elsewhere. 

    Take some time off, really

    Fortunately, when I had my overworking epiphany, I was in a position where I could take time off. As soon as I was able to crawl out from under the duvet, I marked out a vacation the earliest possible. I’m not going anywhere; I’m just… not working. 

    Taking time away will give you an opportunity to gain some perspective and decide what you want – both personally and professionally. How do you feel about your work? What are the fears and anxieties you have when you’re not working, and where do they come from?

    These can be big questions with complex answers, but it is important to understand why you overwork. Once you understand the causes, you can develop a way forward. Create new habits and routines, identify the stressors that trigger your compulsions, and re-evaluate your expectations of success. 

    Leks Drakos is a rogue academic specializing in monstrosity, post-apocalyptic narratives, and the contemporary novel. He’s also a content writer for Process Street. Follow him on .

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