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Keeping workaholism in check

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Are you a workaholic? If you take your cell phone to bed, work every week-end and never relax, you are a workaholic. Workaholics work all the time relentlessly.

In the US, hard work is believed to be an asset needed for success. Workaholism is nothing but addiction, it can be called respectable addiction. In the Netherlands people suffer from 'leisure illness'; they think they get sick if they don't work. As such they overwork. On week-ends and during vacations they psychologically feel they are sick because they are off from work. They cannot relax or unwind. Japanese call workaholism 'death by work' or karoshi.

It is interesting to note that workaholics continue to work even if they are drained out and as result they make mistakes and spend more time in fixing them. It is obsessive goal-chasing leading nowhere.



Experts say workaholism is compulsive behavioral disorder. It means a workaholic is one whose lifestyle is of out of balance. This disorder leads to serious health problems. Perfectionism, an unmet need for control, fear and low self esteem are reasons for workaholism.

The natural instinct of a workaholic is to work for avoiding other issues. This avoidance becomes an unbreakable behavioral pattern.

Steps to break this behavioral pattern


A multi-pronged approach is needed to treat this work addiction. The recipe for this disorder is counseling, behavior modification, hypnotherapy, lifestyle changes and family intervention. A few tips to handle the disorder:
  • Counseling: It helps you look at the big picture and train you to focus on relaxation, rest, wellness and recreation.

  • Scheduling: Leisure such as movies and workouts must be on your calendar and they should be treated as
    appointments with your client or customer.

  • Get to the root: Tackle issues like anxiety and lack of confidence that are forcing you to prove something to yourself or others. The main cause may be low self-esteem or the desire to overachieve.

  • Set limits: Leave office at 5 pm and leave the work at office. This needs focused self-discipline; for this a coach or a colleague who can influence you will be useful.

  • Learn to delegate: Workaholics believe that they only can do the job right. Learn to let go and eliminate the need for control; they are the two tools that can you get out of this futile cycle.

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