Are You A Workaholic?

Being addicted to work is a bad habit but we don’t always view it that way.  Many people are praised for their over-commitment to their job.  They are applauded when they are the first in the workplace door in the morning and the last to leave.  While being a good employee is a good thing to be, being a workaholic is not necessarily good for your health.


Definition of a Workaholic:


According to a workaholic is a person who works compulsively at the expense of other pursuits; a person obsessively addicted to work; one who has a compulsive and unrelenting need to work


You Could Be A Workaholic IF:


  • You define your worth by your work.
  • You feel guilty when you are not working.  You resists breaks and vacations.
  • You can’t turn off thinking about work.
  • You are missing out on activities (a child’s ball game or a friend’s birthday party) because you are obsessing about work.
  • You need goals and work yet you rarely enjoy accomplishments.
  • Only feel energetic and purposeful at work.


The Workaholic Quiz:  Bergen Work Addiction Scale


The Bergen Work Addiction Scale uses seven basic criteria to identify work addiction, where all items are scored on the following scale: (1) Never, (2) Rarely, (3) Sometimes, (4) Often, and (5) Always:

  • You think of how you can free up more time to work.
  • You spend much more time working than initially intended.
  • You work in order to reduce feelings of guilt, anxiety, helplessness and depression.
  • You have been told by others to cut down on work without listening to them.
  • You become stressed if you are prohibited from working.
  • You deprioritise hobbies, leisure activities, and exercise because of your work.
  • You work so much that it has negatively influenced your health.


If you say often or always to 4 or more of these statements, guess what, you are probably a workaholic.


Workaholic Health Problems:


  • High Blood Pressure
  • Elevated Cholesterol
  • Abnormal Heart Rhythm
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Ulcers
  • Burnout / Depression
  • Increased Risk for Heart Disease
  • Increased Risk for Diabetes


Workaholic Relationship Complications:


Intimacy with your spouse is compromised.  Your spouse can tell when they are not close to the top in the things you think are important.  Putting work over a life long relationship with your partner will harm your relationship.

Children don’t feel loved.  Kids need your time and attention to feel safe and loved.  When you are preoccupied with work and tasks your kids will notice.

Friends require time and attention also.  If you stop activities that bring you together with others your friends will start to disappear.


Workaholic Risk Factors:


  • Your Personality
  • You have created a work first habit
  • The company culture you work at promotes a “work first mentality”.


What A Workaholic Isn’t:


You aren’t necessarily a workaholic if you are overworked.  Working hard at your job does not make you a workaholic nor does working long hours.  People who work long hours or 2 jobs aren’t necessarily workaholics.  Sometimes a person must work 2 jobs in order to make ends meet.  If you would gladly give up your second job or cut back your hours worked if you could then your work hasn’t taken over your life and you are experiencing a tough season that hopefully won’t last long.  You could still have a problem if your work consumes you above all else and you are only working a 40 hour week.

You aren’t necessarily a workaholic if your job is hard work.  A job that is hard and demanding doesn’t turn you into a workaholic.  You may just work hard at what you do.  And that is OK as long as your work doesn’t become the overriding all- consuming task in your life that you obsess about 24 hours a day.


Tips for Finding A Good Work / Life Balance:


If you are a workaholic admit you have a problem.  This is the first step to any habit change you need in your life.

Change your mindset.  You have value outside of your work.  Your family and friends see you as more than the job you do.

Set a time frame for no work contact.  No phone.  No email.  No work related contact of any kind.  Start small a build the amount of time.  For example start with a 2 hour window 7pm to 9pm is a NO work activity period.  Once you get good at this, add one weekend day where you will not engage in any work related activity.

Find a hobby you like that keeps your brain and body engaged so you just can’t think about work and do your hobby.  So fishing, which can give you lots of time to think probably isn’t a good idea.  Driving go-carts requires your full attention mind and body.  So this could be a good choice.




Interesting enjoyable work is a goal for most of us.  And that is a worthwhile goal.  There is a time for work and a time to play, relax and recharge.  We will function in our relationships when we have a good work life balance.  We also are protecting our health.

Workers that have a healthy work / life balance are more productive, sick less often and less prone to burnout.


Workaholism is the best-dressed addiction in the country,” says Robinson, author of Chained to the Desk: A Guidebook for Workaholics, Their Partners, Their Children, and the Clinicians Who Treat Them, and himself a recovering workaholic. “It’s a good-looking addiction to have — that’s the paradox and what makes it so difficult to study and treat.”


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