Workaholic: definition, manifestations, methods of treatment

According to the Englishman Charles Darwin, labor made man out of apes. Our famous compatriot Vissarion Belinsky argued that labor ennobles a person. Both of these have been instilled in most of us since childhood. As well as the truth that says that patience and work will grind everything. And it’s hard to disagree with that. Without hard work, it is almost impossible to achieve at least some significant results in any industry.

Unfortunately, for some, work becomes not a means to an end, but an end in itself. It’s about workaholics. Consonance with «alcoholics» is not accidental. Both of them are at risk. Most often, they lose their health, their psyche is shaken, they have no friends, family, and, in principle, the joys of life are unknown to them. Who are workaholics, and how do they become?

What it is?

Workaholics are not born, they are made. These are people who have allowed themselves to be completely absorbed in their work. In psychology and psychotherapy, this form of addictive behavior is considered nothing more than a disease. A person with such a diagnosis is most often an insecure individual. This type of addiction is accompanied by inadequate behavior and outlook on life, an altered state of consciousness. The main definition and characteristic of such a person is a strong, pathological craving for work, which is in the first place in his life.

He no longer remembers what is good, what is bad, he is full of work, calls himself a worker, considers himself a hero, but in fact this is a “client” of a psychiatrist.

Experts call the following prerequisites for turning a person into a workaholic:

  • Even as a child, you left problems for work, sat down for lessons, ran to collect waste paper, immersed yourself in the social life of the class.
  • Your parents worked, as they say, conscientiously. They spent day and night at work, while earning little, but their photographs were on the honor roll, their bedroom was hung with letters and awards for military work.
  • As a child, you waited for praise from mom and dad so much that you were ready to spend hours cleaning, preparing breakfast for them, taking out the trash every day, and working with your younger sister.
  • You want to feel your own importance as a result of the work you have done.
  • It is difficult for you to find a common language with people, you feel uncomfortable in the company.
  • For your work, it is enough for you to receive praise from your superiors, you are much less interested in money and other benefits.

If something like this has happened to you, you may have already taken the first step into the abyss of workaholism. So how can you recognize a workaholic in yourself or a loved one and stop the process of personality destruction in time?

Signs of workaholism

This disease, like most others, develops gradually. And at the initial stages, it manifests itself weakly. Therefore, it is very difficult to identify it immediately. Moreover, initially such zeal is assessed by colleagues and superiors as a positive example. A workaholic works 20 hours a day, 30 days a month. Thus accumulates fatigue, but does not show the form.

And it doesn’t matter if it’s a man or a woman. Illness spares no one.

Yesterday’s lazy person can also turn into a workaholic. In different countries of the world, they are looking for methods to combat this disease. After all, it is not in vain that labor legislation, which stands for the protection of the «working class», is regularly changed. We all have the right not only to work, but also to rest, and we are simply obliged to use it. Endless work will inevitably lead to exhaustion, both physical and moral.

But first you will encounter the following phenomena:

  • You do not want to meet and talk with anyone, you simply do not have the strength or time for this.
  • You immerse yourself in yourself, become withdrawn.
  • You find solace in gambling or alcohol.
  • You are incapable of showing feelings.
  • You have forgotten how to enjoy, as well as, in principle, the ability to rejoice.
  • You are not even interested in what used to be the meaning of life.
  • You often swear. In principle, aggression and anger become characteristic of you.
  • You get tired quickly, and this infuriates you even more.

We are not clockwork bunnies, we cannot change the battery at any convenient moment. We ourselves must use our energy wisely.

In the end, it was not in vain that work helped the ape to become a man, according to Darwin’s theory.

If among the following you find a wording familiar to your behavior, it’s time to think:

  • You neglect rest.
  • Outside of work, you become irritable.
  • Without a job, you feel dissatisfied.
  • You are ready to shoulder the responsibilities of others.
  • You feel a surge of energy, your own self-sufficiency and self-confidence, only when you are at the workplace.
  • Returning home, you immediately grow gloomy, become vulnerable, you are not interested in anything.
  • From your colleagues, as well as from yourself, you demand extraordinary dedication.
  • You can’t stand criticism.
  • Any failure at work drives you crazy.
  • Apart from work, nothing makes you happy.
  • You take work home or come to the office even on your day off.
  • All conversations at home or at meetings with friends are only about work.
  • When you go to bed, you think about work.
  • You are not interested in how much you earn, but only in how much you make.

Types of disease

Workaholics are different. Depending on the social status, mental state, education in the end.


The “active” life position of such a workaholic does not give him time to rest. He cares about everything that happens in the work team and every colleague. Colleagues, in turn, laugh at him at best, hate him at worst.


This workaholic curry favor with his superiors and himself, now and then takes work home. For example, this is an accountant who takes papers home for the weekend to complete the reporting.


A talented person is talented in everything. So workaholics from creative personalities are extraordinary. They do not sleep for days to finish a book, play, put on a play, make a film. As soon as they finish with one project, they immediately take on another.


This workaholic «lives» in the gym. And he not necessarily a professional athlete. Among fitness fans, there are also such people. They are not afraid of heavy loads and, as a result, numerous injuries. But unfortunately, this is just an illusion, which often not only throws such a workaholic from Olympus, but also brings him to a wheelchair.


Such workaholics are more common among the beautiful half of humanity. They forget that they are the weaker sex and go, as it seems to them, to protect even more vulnerable — children. They forget to do a manicure or touch up their gray hair, but they know exactly the schedule of their child’s lessons, the time of the next parent meeting, they organize field trips, holidays for the whole class. And it’s all good, of course. but such ladies literally spit on themselves. Does a child need such a mother?


«For myself»

These workaholics can still be quickly helped. Despite the fact that they spend most of their time and energy at work, sometimes a thought arises in their bright head, but am I too zealous? Moreover, sometimes they try to find the joys of life outside of work.

«For others»

It is difficult or almost impossible to help such workaholics. Everything suits him, but he does not notice that his absence causes suffering to relatives. As he does not notice almost anything around, except for work, of course. That’s why there is no problem for him, which means that he will refuse help.


Perhaps the most common type of workaholic. It seems to him that everything is working out for him, which means that there are no problems. He goes to his goal, destroying everything in his path, his own health, relationships with loved ones and even his savings, which often do not return to him.


This type is treatable in some cases. Such a workaholic is literally hitting a wall. He only pretends to work hard. As a result, his efforts come to nothing. His actions are irrational. He simply has nothing else to do. And sometimes he admits it.


Comrade difficult, but curable. He constantly complains that he is tired. Says he is being forced to do more than he can handle. Such a workaholic supposedly always overloaded. In fact, he rushes to work, because only there he feels his need. Fear of loneliness and underestimation makes a person so.

How to get rid?

A workaholic, like other addicts, is difficult to cure. But the sooner you start doing this, the better. Without the help of a specialist, treatment is unlikely to be effective. It is best to contact a qualified psychologist who will help you stop being a workaholic and learn to relax.

In some cases, you can not do without the help of a psychotherapist. Cognitive techniques in psychotherapy help in most cases.


A workaholic is dangerous primarily for himself. He sooner or later develops insomnia, he becomes forgetful, irritable, he is characterized by sudden mood swings. As a result — frequent headaches, nervous tics, dizziness and other «charms». There is even an opinion that excessive work dependence leads to dementia.

More often, workaholics become susceptible to other more common misfortunes and harm their body through the use of alcohol or even drugs.

Expert advice

If you feel that such a disease is only approaching you, then try to stop it at the «threshold».

To do this, experts recommend giving yourself honest answers to the following questions:

  • What are you running from at work? Are you afraid of being alone or, on the contrary, do companies scare you?
  • What scares you more — the failure that will befall at work, or the punishment that you will incur for this?
  • What makes you go to work after hours? A desire to feel important or needed, or maybe you just don’t know what else to do with yourself?
  • Do you like the role of the savior of everyone and everything? But do the «saved» need your help?
  • Do you like being praised and saying «thank you»?
  • You feel more confident when everything is under your control.

Only by understanding the reasons for your tendency to workaholism, you can get away from this addiction. Often the roots of the problem are buried in childhood. You weeded the garden for days on end, and your mother did not notice, you got a five, and your father did not buy a chocolate bar. Here you are waiting for the lost gratitude. But believe me, this will not lead to anything good. You drive yourself. Chronic fatigue, nervous exhaustion, a painful condition — workaholics have no time to go to the doctor.

Therefore, you have only two ways — either go the other way and stop putting work in the first or even the only place in your life, or burn out at work in the literal and figurative sense of the word.

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