While most of us have been raised to believe in the adage “work is worship”, crossing the healthy bounds of one’s regular work schedule can be detrimental to the individual’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Work addiction occurs when a person works for unusually long periods, to such an extent that it replaces all the other significant aspects of his/her life. Typically, individuals addicted to work are not necessarily under external pressure to exert such efforts but feel a sense of inadequacy without working.

Defining Work Addiction

Addiction.com defines work addiction as “the inability to stop obsessing about your job or career, even at the expense of your relationships and health.”

Often, for such persons, work becomes a respite from all other bothersome aspects of life, including personal debacles and mundane responsibilities. Work addiction is usually driven by a burning desire to succeed at one’s job, and failure to accomplish such accolades leads to shame and despair. Although based on generally healthy behaviour, work addiction can have negative consequences as severe as all other forms of addiction, such as drug and alcohol addiction.

Symptoms of Work Addiction

Some of the common symptoms of work addiction include:

  • Irritability when not working
  • Never taking vacations or day-offs from work
  • Inability to devote attention to one’s partner or family due to disproportionately long work schedules
  • Being extremely paranoid about one’s work achievements and goals
  • Denial or avoidance of other challenges and responsibilities in life

Diagnosing Work Addiction

One of the most widely accepted psychometric assessment tools for work addiction is the Bergen Work Addiction Scale. This scale consists of five distinct scales, namely ‘never’, ‘rarely’, ‘sometimes’, ‘often’, and ‘always’. This scale consists of essential questions that measure one’s perceptions of work and time spent working. Some such questions include:

  • You spend much more time working than you initially intended.
  • You become stressed when you are not able to work.
  • You work so much that it has negatively impacted your work.

The more a person’s answers lean towards the ‘often’ and ‘always’ scales, the more is the severity of a person’s work addiction.

Treating Work Addiction: The Way Ahead With Safe House

To a person struggling with work addiction, life without work may come across as a void. However, as a premier rehab centre, Safe House helps such individuals fill up the void with positivity, hope, and personal enrichment. Here are some ways in which we help such individuals:

  • Highly-Skilled Mental Health Professionals: The psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals at Safe House thoroughly understand the genesis and symptoms of work addiction. Slowly and steadily, they wean individuals from the compulsive need to work and replace it with healthier behaviours. Our staff members are proficient in various therapies, including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), etc.

  • Group Interventions: Our group discussions and therapy sessions provide a sense of community and courage to individuals dealing with work addiction. We organise innovative activities to help patients collectively work towards healing from their addiction.

  • Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle Change: A significant lifestyle change is extremely crucial to healing from work addiction. From alternative healing practices like yoga and meditation to educational lectures and extensive diet plans, Safe House incorporates various activities systematically into the patient’s daily routine. Switching to such a healthy lifestyle can majorly encourage individuals to focus on other aspects of life besides work.