48% of Americans consider themselves workaholics. That’s almost half of the country.
Work addiction can be out of financial necessity, but it can also be driven from a psychological desire to feel as though someone is a failure if they aren’t continually working. It can also arise as a form of escapism (just like any other addiction); if someone doesn’t like their life or the way things are going, they can dive indefinitely into work.
And while in our society, the reward for that may be monetary gains, the pitfalls are harsh.
Work addiction is a big reason why many marriages fail.
If you’re concerned that you might be addicted to work, read on for warning signs that your career could be a problem.
1. You Regularly Put in Overtime When It Isn’t Necessary
Sure, everyone needs to stay late at the office sometimes. Your boss may even require your team to come in on the weekend to prep for a big event or to finish a task. That’s well within the realms of normality.
But, if you frequently stay late at work without there being a reason for it, it may be a sign that you’re addicted to work. If there is no pressing need for you to stay in the office after hours, it may mean you’re either in an unhealthy situation in your home life, or you’ve become a workaholic.
2. You Constantly Think About Work
Everyone gets stressed out at work now and then. Sometimes, it may be difficult to leave a problem at the office. Or, you may find yourself out at dinner with family, friends, or your spouse and suddenly be thinking about some loose ends you need to tie up at work.
If you find, however, that you’re always thinking about work, this could be a problem. You may find you can’t relax or “switch off” and instead are still at the office in your head, even if you’re around people that you love.
3. You Take Work with You on Vacation
You and your spouse have planned a fantastic trip to Hawaii. It’s an all-inclusive package where you’ll be spending seven days and nights right on the pristine beaches. If you’re not addicted to work, this sounds like a fantastic and romantic getaway. For a workaholic, this sounds like a total nightmare.
If the idea of completely unplugging from work makes you anxious, you may want to contemplate whether or not you’re addicted to work.
You may also be a work addict if you do go on vacation, but make sure you have all of your work supplies to work remotely. Instead of spending the holiday with your spouse (or whomever you’ve decided to take), you’re spending it reading emails, fielding calls, and working on projects. This would all indicate a real problem.
4. People Around You Have Asked You to Cut Back on Work, But You Find It Impossible to Do So
At the end of your life, you will likely regret not spending enough time with the people who love you. Very seldom do people look back and say they wished they had gone into the office for extra hours instead of playing soccer with the kids or having a meal with their partner.
If your parents, friends, children or spouse has asked you to cut back on work and you refuse to do so (not out of financial necessity), this indicates a problem. If they have asked you this more than once and you still refuse, this may be a sign of something more serious.
5. You Lose Sleep Often Due to Work-Related Tasks
It’s normal to lose sleep at the end of the quarter or when your team has a large project due. Having the jitters, putting in long hours, and coming in early is typical- even expected- in some high-pressure work situations.
But, when you’re routinely sacrificing a good night’s sleep to be at work or to complete unnecessary work-related tasks, work might be a problem for you.
6. The Amount of Time You Spend Working Has Dramatically Increased After a Life-Altering Event
Some people become workaholics to avoid coping with life’s challenges. If you’ve begun to display the symptoms of a workaholic, especially during a difficult period in your life, it is essential to recognize this.
A divorce, the death of a loved one, diagnosis of an illness or other adverse life-altering circumstances can certainly be things you wish to avoid. As such, you may find yourself burying your head in work to attempt to distract yourself from the feelings.
7. Your Work Pattern is Detrimental to Your Health
Are you working long hours without eating? Are you overeating while you’re at work and gaining weight? Are you routinely foregoing sleep and exercise to finish unnecessary tasks at work?
If any of these are the case, you may suffer from work addiction.
Dealing with Work Addiction
For many people, work addiction in itself is not the root cause of a problem. Instead, it is a way that they manifest anxiety, depression, trauma, and other negative emotions. To fully recover from real work addiction, those suffering will need intensive therapy to work on the root causes of the habit.
If you or someone you love is addicted to work, you may wish to explore D’Amore Health’s unique program to help address it. You can enjoy your life, and you shouldn’t have to relegate yourself to spending additional days and hours behind a desk.