Addicted to work - This is how workaholic begins

Addicted to work - This is how workaholic begins

Addicted to work - For workaholics, it's all about the job
Most people usually look forward to the end of the day or the weekend. It is different for some people: they cannot stop working at all. At Workaholics, almost everything is about the job. However, in many cases, addicts are not particularly productive despite numerous overtime hours. And they are doing their health no good with it.

Job addiction is common
Some people work a lot, some do even more, and some can't stop doing it. Work addiction is not that rare: AOK, for example, pointed out a few years ago that at least every ninth employee in Germany is addicted to work. However, job addiction - like burnout - is not generally defined, as the graduate psychologist Stefan Poppelreuter explained in a message from the dpa news agency. The occupational psychologist has published various books on the subject of job addiction, which also deal with what happens when the job eats up the soul. According to estimates, there are between 200,000 and 300,000 people affected in this country.

Malaise when inactive
However, not everyone who works excessively and spends many hours in the office is by no means addicted. "Rather, it is about the fact that you can no longer let go of work and you think the world is collapsing without your own performance," explained Poppelreuter. Psychological studies showed that those affected feel uncomfortable if they do not work. "Work-addicts need the feeling of being permanently productive and needed," said Prof. Ute Rademacher, lecturer at the International School of Management (ISM) in Hamburg.

Workaholics often work very inefficiently
It is not always easy to see where the limit is. "If you can switch off the phone and the computer and enjoy a day with the family without thinking about work, there is no need to worry," said Poppelreuter. However, if that no longer works, it will be difficult. Work addicts are often the first to arrive in the morning and the last to leave. However, they are not always productive. In many cases, workaholics work very inefficiently. "You cannot delegate or set priorities and are not suitable for working with others," said the psychologist.

No difference between women and men
There is no difference between men and women in terms of the number of job addicts. But in the helping and creative professions as well as the self-employed, more people with a tendency to addictive behavior are represented, said Poppelreuter. Work is often an escape from other conflicts in life. Workaholics are often driven. "Many lack inner fulfillment," said Werner Gross, co-founder of the Psychological Forum Offenbach according to dpa. At this point, friends and relatives can often identify the addiction. "The addicts are physically present, but mentally absent, do not follow conversations and constantly write emails," said Poppelreuter.

Addiction with physical effects
Work addiction makes you sick. Common consequences are physical complaints such as headaches, stomach problems such as stomach ulcers or sleep disorders. Addicts react to non-working times with, among other things, sweats, rapid heartbeat, depression or irritability. According to health experts, psychosomatic disorders such as functional heart problems and psychosocial problems such as family conflicts or loss of friendship can also be observed in many affected people. Body and psyche give a kind of stop signal.

Exchange ideas with other job addicts
However, not all work addicts always have to go through lengthy therapy. "The first step is to try talking to your confidants yourself." There are also various self-help groups for mental health. The "Anonymous Job Addicts" (AAS) initiative provides assistance. Here, those affected can also look for a self-help group in their area, where they can exchange ideas with other job addicts. But if that is not enough, professionals are in demand. Then psychotherapy or even inpatient rehabilitation can help. Many therapists have specialized in the subject of addiction. However, permanent healing can rarely occur, as Poppelreuter explained. "The goal of treatment cannot be abstinence, work is too important and necessary for this," said the expert. (ad)

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