Working Too Much—Is It An Addiction?

Addictions are mostly thought of as a substance addiction or an addiction to something that will harm your lifestyle in some way. Hardly anyone would consider a hard working person as an addict. We have all heard the term “workaholic”. Someone who works more hours than they have off is considered a workaholic, and this, for some, is an addiction.

Isn’t working hard a good thing? It depends on the reason. If you are working towards a goal and an end is in sight, working hard is a good thing. If you are just working and can’t stop, that’s not good for you mentally or physically. There are signs to look at to see if you are addicted to work. Do you work more than 80 hours a week? Is work constantly on your mind? Do you take work home? Is your social life is non-existent? You might even lose patience with those who don’t share your work ethic.

Now look at some steps to take to stop that workaholic in you. Chances are you didn’t become a workaholic overnight. And it’s not going to go away overnight, either. First, look at who your role model was when you were a child. Did that person instill in you that you needed to do more to succeed? Did you do everything you could to please that person? Growing up poor can also make someone vow to never be poor again and work hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. When you are thinking about why you work so hard, try and think about the reasons you need to be the first one in and the last one out at work. Is it insecurity about being overlooked for promotions?

A very hard thing for most workaholics to do is learn to distance themselves from the workplace. Start delegating. Others will be happy to help. Start reconnecting with your family. Those relationships are often in dire need of repair. Put down that cell phone and laptop; they are not extensions of your body. And lastly seek counseling. Being a workaholic can be corrected with support and therapy.


N.A. “Are You A Workaholic?” (Website). (2015).
  • 33 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • Being a workaholic does have its ups and downs. The pros when it comes to working nonstop is that you earn more money than the average worker, and it definitely shows your diligence and commitment to your job. However, this could also affect your social and family life. Thus, your relatives and friends may get estranged and become distant to you. Your paycheck will not be able to help you with that.

  • People might like their jobs, but often a lot workaholics could throw themselves into their work to hide another problem that they might be having.

    If something is on your mind, its best to try and keep busy, and if you lucky enough to have a job, then that's where a lot of people will turn to.
  • Workaholics is the right word to describe the people that work too much and yes, I do feel it's an addiction especially when family and kids are left behind. I feel we should try to live a balanced life and working too much is hardly balance. 
  • I am a workaholic, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I feel fulfilled by my work and can't imagine not working in my chosen field. I love to take stock at the end of each day, examining carefully what I have achieved so far, and where I am going with it in the future. My work is of a creative, productive nature and I absolutely love it. :)
  • Out of all the different things I got addicted to, it couldn't be work?? Maybe then I could've paid for my addictions instead of stealing
  • I believe it can be addictive. Look at everyone who has lost family and friends because they could never bring themselves to give up work for time with their loved ones.
  • This reminds me of my late father in law who was still working at age 80. He couldn't be at peace when there's nothing to do. He said that he had become a workaholic as an effect of being an orphan at age 14 with 6 siblings to care for. He was a good provider and generous too especially with the relatives of his wife.

    As I see it, being a workaholic is not an addiction. It is just the opposite of being lazy.
  • @LadyBanker
    I don't believe people who are not workaholics are lazy. There are a lot of people who aren't workaholics that are anything BUT lazy. Workaholics can be put in a lot of different categories. Some people just want to spend time with their loved ones, especially their children if they have them. I have had to miss some of my son's baseball games because of work. Him and I both were devastated over it. I couldn't imagine missing out on any more of his life because of some job... Not even if I liked my job a whole bunch! I'm not going to call myself lazy for loving my son.
  • @Beatrice, I did not say that a person is lazy if he is not  workaholic. It's just the lazy person is the opposite of a workhalic. There  are people who are workaholics and there are some who work just moderately and cannot be branded as lazy. To me, workaholics are naturally in love with working but cannot be considered addiction.
  • I have been a workaholic all of my life I think. Recently I entered a paramedic program which is something that I'm very passionate about. In undergrad I was always working on homework or thinking about school, but when I entered the program (doing something that I love) it got so much worse. The workload is huge, but I love doing it. When I'm not at school, I think about school and I feel more at ease when I'm there than I do at home. I think that being a workaholic feels really good to the person who is experiencing it because they are engaged and focused, but those around them suffer. They know that and that adds an element of guilt which can cloud their focus and make them feel bad about being at and loving work. This may make them feel resentful of the person who is upset with them for being a workaholic, which doesn't make sense to them because their work brings them so much joy. If you have a workaholic in your life keep in mind that they really love work and are addicted to it, and they should keep in mind that there are elements of their lives that exist outside of work. Balancing the two is very difficult.

  • I have a friend who is a workaholic. She goes everyday to one job or another.
    She is 63 years old and a widow.I think she is afraid to slow down.
    She stands for 40 hours plus per week all night long in a casino then works as a morgage broker on her free days.
    Also has some sort of sales job part-time.
    She never goes out for fun, always some sort of work thing involed with everything.
    She is lonely

  • thank you for this. sometimes i feel pulled to have to work continually...and it causes me stress, so i try to balance this out.  just with any addiction, too much can wreak havoc for sure. 
  • I've heard many of them do it to escape something else in life like a nagging wife ect. I personally chose to work more because it puts more money in my pocket and I have too much time on my hands. If I work 4 days/ week and there is an available 1 or 2 extra days available for overtime, then if I don't take them I feel like I'm losing money.

  • Being a workaholic is great. Nothing wrong with bringing in the money. But a person needs to understand that's not the ONLY thing that matterse in life.

    If a person is working so much that they begin to sacrifice their family for example, then the person needs to cut down. Same thing with a person's personal life and friends. You need a balance.

    Remember, being a workaholic is only bad if you are neglecting other aspects of your life for it.

  • I've noticed this sort of conversation happens a lot on this site. I wonder if maybe the characteristics of an addict and of a hobby should be listed. There is a lot of grey area, and half the time I'm completely torn between the two.

  • @LadyBanker
    I'm sorry! I misunderstood what you meant. But thank you for clarifying for me. Again, sorry you had to
  • In our life we must do everything in moderation. Sometimes over doing something like eating, sleeping, exercising, playing sports, reading, watching television, use of computers and cellphones too much, drinking alcohol, smoking bad if you are abusing yourself with these kind of activities and is already affecting your life. And with regards to spending extra time working it is just okay if you will spend 2 to 3 hours of over time work beyond the regular working hours if it is really needed for the work. But it should not be on a regular basis. And if you are working even weekdays that is too much already. What will you do with your extra earnings if you will have no time to rest and your health will be affected and you will sacrifice your time with your family. The money you will earn from being a workaholic can't buy true happiness which is important in our life.
  • Unlike other addicts that was given temporary bliss by their addictions no matter how destructive they are, workaholics do not seems to have that qualities. Sure, you get your overtime pay and compliments from the boss but it seems that there are more things than just enjoying the rewards of the hard work. That is why I think being a workaholic can be tough on the mental health compared to other addictions. Sometimes though, there are people who actually enjoy the actual working process itself.
  • Last year I used to work a lot in order to achieve a guitar I really wanted. I was kinda obsessive about it and working took most of my time away. Luckily, I learned to be chill again and started seeing my friends. Now I don't have so much money anymore, but I am indeed happier. 
  • I was a workaholic once. I even took a second job when I was quitting coke, just to keep busy. Looking back, I can see that throwing myself into work was a way to escape my problems. Now I've sorted myself out, I no longer feel the need or the inclination to spend the majority of my life at work. 
  • Never thought of it but yes, work too much is definitely and addiction and I never realized it, but certainly I'm not happy when I'm not working, and the meaning of vacation doesn't exist in my personal dictionary... thankfully!
  • Different things work for different people. Some like to shed their stresses over their profession. It gives them relief. However, life is too wonderful to be all work and no play. The situation you described aptly my dad, who grew up in poor conditions and is overtly afraid of poverty. 
    He works, works and works. He says it brings satisfaction and happiness but forces everyone around him to do the same. Yes, there are both positive and negative angles to any addiction. I'd say anything excess is madness. Workholism is definitely an addiction is done to cope up with stress. 
  • It sounds reasonable that it could be classified as an addiction. After all, you could lose just as much from working to much as you would taking drugs or drinking too much.
  • For me, working too much has become a serious addiction that no one can directly identify in my country. We tell ourselves it's for our family, our house payments etc but the truth is some people actually get a sense of high from being successful or just plain being in the office. It's definitely an addiction-- too much of a good things is bad for you.
  • It definitely has a lot of pros rather than cons, but don't overdo it. Chances are, you'll eventually get tired of it and exhaust your inner power way too much. Do it in balance. If you fail to do that, you'll give all you have for a few months then perform bad for the next months to come. It's not pleasant. 
  • anything can be dangerous if you go to extremes with it.
  • I think anything can become an addiction, especially if you have an addictive personality. Moderation in all aspects of life is key to have a balanced and happy life. If you're working too much, you're going to eventually burn out and probably end up losing that job you've been putting so many hours into.
  • Being a workaholic has taken a toll on my life. I have an addictive personality, anytime I start a new project it consumes my life.  It is particularly an issue with my husband and daughter. I miss a lot of important moments by simply "checking out" I cannot focus on anything other than my work.

    Unfortunatly, some people have mentioned burn out, but I do not seem to have that problem as each project I work on only lasts a few months.  I hope to be able to find some guidance and help. However, I do not know that I am ready to give up the life I live.
  • @Beatrice Very lightly and good put. Though work, to be honest, can't go that wrong if you think about it. I mean, of course, if you think from a family point of view, that might be not nice, but if you think from a financial point of view... you could be better paid. 
  • When I think about working too much, it isn't as much "time" that would worry me. But becoming obsessive with the quality of your work, and likely other people's work as well. Even the smallest job can cause a huge ulcer if you obsess over it.
  • Being a workaholic can never be a good thing, specially if you are a married person and have children at home. I've seen so many homes be destroyed because the man or the woman spent way too much time at work rather than spend that time with his or her loved ones.  Being a workaholic can strip you from what you love the most in life, why risk it?

    Some people say... but the man is working for his family, he will offer them something better?  But ever wonder why the wives of those workaholics just leave them most of the time? Simply because they feel so abandoned, they think their husbands think their job is the number one priority.  Is hard not to feel alone in a circumstance like that...
  • I wouldn't mind being a workaholic these days. My husband is a trucker, and gone a lot. My kids are grown that leaves me home alone with much time on my hands. I think working would help with the boredom some what, but then again I suppose to much of anything isn't good for a person.
  • @Seraphine that's true - my husband is a bit of a workaholic and while that's his only real "bad" trait it can be hard to put up with sometimes! I often joke with him that work is the other woman, because he spends so much time at the office. We are fortunate that he has a stable job and everything but sometimes he's at work before our daughter is awake, and home after she's already in bed - so that can be super hard.
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