Workaholism is the addiction to work. Workaholism is not the same thing as to work hard. A person who works hard and is not addicted to it can always set healthy boundaries when needed. On the other hand, work addicts demonstrate inabilities to self regulate their schedule and set healthy limits.
Unfortunately, many companies are encouraging and compensating workaholism, in their own detriment, because workaholism has nothing to do with efficiency. A workaholic seems to never be able to organize his time and work. Beside that, ignoring or even encouraging workaholism can ultimately create a state of tension and chaos in the workplace.
The main symptoms of workaholism can be psychological, behavioral and physical. Work addicts always take office equipment with them, wherever they go, even being on vacation (if they take one). They are frequently ?problem solving? work situations in their mind during ?time off?.
They consider sleep and playtime as a waste of time and can't just relax and rest. All their previous relationships are impaired. Friends don't call them anymore, or if they do, the work addicts usually will be anxious to get off the phone and get back to work again.
Frequently they avoid family responsibilities, excusing themselves that they don't have time to help. Workaholics have a chronic fatigue, are very irritable, and socially isolated. The physical symptoms are basically those provoked by permanent stress: headaches, insomnia, and shortness of breath, racing hearts, muscle tension, or ulcers.
What can cause workaholism? Most of work addicts seem to have really low self-esteem. They are typically brought up in families with low level of communication and expressing feelings openly. Usually there is a clear message for children to be strong, right and perfect, to work hard and make something valuable in their life, so that parents can be proud of them. In these families children are not allowed to play too much. Beside childhood problems there are some more predisposal factors. Workaholics usually have several fears.
Fear of failure makes it unacceptable to them to earn or achieve less, even if they may have more than they need. The fear of boredom provides them with the necessity of being always busy, so they wouldn't have time to think about what's happening inside or outside them. Just like other people may use drugs and alcohol to avoid personal problems, workaholics are using work for the same purpose.
The tough education and fear of laziness makes them feel guilty every time they are not working. This guiltiness makes it impossible for them to relax and have fun. One of the most important fears is the underlying fear that they might be not as talented and successful as others think they are. In some cases workaholics are really scared that people might find out that they are not that worthy workers and can be easily replaced by other employees. This idea freaks them out. Is there any solution?
Psychologists give a lot of advices how to fight workaholism. First tip is to learn to listen to the others. Usually workaholics get bored and restless when it comes to listening to someone else's opinion. They will rapidly bring the conversations to their own interest. Good listening skills may be really useful but are difficult to achieve. Another point is to learn to relax and let other people be in charge. And some of the energy must be definitely invested in other things such as sport, leisure, hobbies and family. Unfortunately, in many cases workaholics can't solve the problem by themselves and need a professional help.