Understanding Work Addiction
People often misunderstand work addiction as a term describing people who work long hours, but the term actually describes people who feel compelled to work, and who may experience complex feelings of guilt, shame, avoidance, anxiety and disappointment related to work. Work addiction is also used as a means to derive self-esteem and mask feelings of inadequacy, fear of intimacy and other addictions.
Nevertheless, we feel an internal drive to work — sometimes incessantly — and have trouble disengaging from our professional lives. Our bosses or co-workers might report that we struggle working as part of a team, have trouble delegating to others or are distrustful of others’ abilities and competencies.
Professional clinical intervention can be key to stopping the cycle of guilt and unhappiness that drives work addiction. In some cases, our addiction to work may be driven by the desire to avoid pain or hurtful relationship dynamics, in others, it can be a response to trauma, or part of a behavioural disorder such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
As South Pacific Private, we make it our mission to root out and address the underlying causes of conditions like work addiction and aim to equip you with the skills and strategies to set yourself on a happier, healthier path to long-term success.
Indicators of burnout and work addiction
Addiction to work or an unhealthy relationship with work can lead to burnout, which is a response to prolonged stress within your working environment. This may leave you feeling drained, exhausted, unfulfilled and depersonalised.
The signs of burnout and work addiction may include the following:
- You don’t necessarily enjoy your work or find it pleasurable, but feel like you should be working
- You experience anxiety, guilt or worry when you’re not working
- You find it hard to mentally disengage from work
- You work beyond what is usually expected at your organisation
- Arguments with family members and partners related to work
- Frustration and agitation when prevented from working
- Work has become a way of distracting yourself from other issues, problems or pain
- You find yourself re-enacting past dynamics, or link the need to work with earlier experiences, or link it to directives from authority figures from childhood
- Preferring to be at work than with loved ones or friends
- Overly valuing feedback about how hard you work
- People-pleasing your boss or co-workers
If you’re concerned you may have a problem with work addiction, you can use our self-assessment tool here to gain a better understanding of whether key indicators of addiction apply to your situation. To schedule a free, confidential, professional phone assessment, call our team seven days a week on 1800 063 332.
Your pathway to recovery
Addiction to work is rarely driven by your job or workplace itself, it’s often a result of internal anxiety, stress, trauma or clinical behavioural disorders.
At South Pacific Private, our full, multi-disciplinary team of specialists is dedicated to identifying and resolving these underlying issues, and to equipping you with skills and strategies for managing your relationship with work in the longer term.
We also understand that work addiction can have a particularly significant impact on families and partners, with clients benefiting from our dedicated Family Program which encourages understanding and helps equip partners, friends and relatives as allies in your journey to recovery.
If you’re ready to start working on developing a healthier relationship with work, we’re ready to stand with you every step of the way. Call us on 1800 063 332 or contact us here to see which of our programs are right for you.