What are the causes of work addiction?

When you work long hours, are you unable to take a break? Are you constantly checking your emails and social media, even though you have already completed your daily duties? Does your boss ask you to perform extra tasks because you are not producing enough?

It’s time to stop working overtime and feeling trapped. Today I will share with you the top 4 reasons why we become addicted to work and how to overcome this destructive addiction.

What are the typical reasons for work addictions?

Some plausible explanations exist for work addiction. A person with work addiction may experience a psychological high from working, such as recognition, success, or perceived social status. They may also use work as a way to cope with emotional stress. Whatever the reason, a person with work addictions is likely to continually run himself/herself into the ground at work which may lead to mental health disorders.

Lack of motivation

Many of us believe that a person who works hard is motivated and loves his work. And that is generally true in most cases.

If, however, one is not motivated by the job, then his workout morale suffers. Think about when you were forced to do something that you did not enjoy. It took longer to complete than you expected, didn’t it? As a result, you did not complete the tasks at maximum efficiency, and you may also have avoided doing what you should have by engaging in other activities.

Now, imagine if someone has to spend each work day doing something he doesn’t like. Of course, he isn’t effective. But, he has to put the results down on the table if he wants to keep his job and avoid other negative consequences. So, to finish the entrusted tasks, he must spend more time working.

Avoid this problem by motivating yourself. Setting goals can help. Make a list of specific goals for the day, week, or month. Then break them down into smaller tasks. Reward yourself for hard work when you finish a task. The following chart perfectly why goals are so important.

Credit: boardview.io

Poor time management

A lack of time management skills may cause your addiction to work. These skills help you plan ahead, prioritize tasks, and stay focused. They also help you avoid procrastination and over-commitment. In a nutshell, with its help, you will be much more effective and save a lot of time.

According to a study made by timewatch.com, employees can benefit from using a proper time management system, such as reduced stress, improved focus, increased productivity, more confidence, etc.

When you’re overwhelmed by tasks, multitasking is tempting. But this approach only leads to stress and frustration because you won’t be able to finish any of them. It’s far more effective if you take small steps toward accomplishing each task.

To avoid work addiction:

  • Get your week organized in advance.
  • Make a list of everything you need to accomplish, including personal tasks, errands, and chores.
  • Determine the importance of these items and prioritize them accordingly.

In order to ensure that you have not missed anything, review your weekly schedule regularly. If you are finding yourself falling behind, adjust your priorities accordingly.

Finally, track your progress. Document the tasks you accomplish each day and the amount of time you spend on them. By doing so, you can identify time-consuming activities and eliminate them.

There is a good reason why successful people have a well-organized time management system.

Stressful environmental factors

The American Institute of Stress reports that the most common causes of workplace stress is workload, followed by people issues.

If you have ever worked somewhere where the community was so bad that you didn’t want to come to work, you know how detrimental it is to your morale. It is much more difficult to accomplish tasks when you are concerned about the harmful people around you rather than completing tasks.

Stressful environments create a toxic workplace culture where employees are expected to work long hours and perform at peak performance. This pressure leads to burnout when employees lose interest in their jobs and dread going to work every day.

To avoid creating a toxic workplace culture, employers should reduce employee stress. These include providing flexible schedules, offering paid leave, and giving staff control over scheduling.

Management and employees must communicate openly and honestly. And managers should set realistic expectations and give feedback regularly.

Additionally, employers should promote healthy lifestyles among their employees. Regular healthy, and enjoyable activities, such as gym memberships, subsidized lunches, and childcare discounts, are effective ways of overcoming workout addictions. Employees are more likely to live a balanced life when participating in regular healthy, enjoyable activities.

Financial problems

The lack of money may be the main reason why people become addicted to working. People are forced to work in two ways to have more money.

The first logical reason is that they want to earn more money or avoid losing their job. And, with that, they are willing to work harder and longer. They get addicted because it is a must to “survive.”

The other reason is that financial stress leads to anxiety and depression. And, the person wants to “forget” these problems, and what could be better than focusing only on work. The problem is that depression and anxiety interfere with productivity, leading to more stressful situations and focus on work.

Social isolation

Lack of social interaction can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression. As a result, people crave human interaction and work to fill this void. Workaholics become addicted to the rush of adrenaline that results from being busy. Although they burn physically and emotionally, they cannot stop working.

A vicious circle develops in which people seek a social connection but are always busy, so they are unable to meet anyone. To cope with their needs, they turn to work.

In this case, the best is if the addict is honest and asks for help from friends and family. A support group is also a great option since the addict can get help from people who have already overcome their work addictions and experienced the same. So, they are much more understanding and provide a safe place.

Work addiction: what are the signs?

A New York Post study of 2,000 employed Americans found these  signs of a workaholic:

  • The feeling of being tired is constant. You start the day sluggishly, and you still feel fatigued even when you rest a little bit.
  • People who work excessively might skip breaks and go without eating, exercising, or using the restroom during the day.
  • The thoughts of work do not stop happening no matter where you are or what other activities you participate in. When you think about work, you may feel distressed, anxious, nervous, tense, or worried. You may also feel frustrated or bored when you think about work.
  • While you are sleeping, you are still thinking about work.
  • You are usually over-critical of yourself. Criticism is another symptom of work addiction. You usually criticize yourself for doing something wrong. For example, you may blame yourself for missing deadlines or failing to complete tasks. The fear of failure is huge.
  • You get irritated easily. A traffic jam, slow service, or rude coworker may irritate you. Minor mistakes made by colleagues or customers may also irritate you.
  • Having trouble concentrating on other things. Unless you are working, you may find it difficult to concentrate on anything else. You may also forget what you were supposed to do next.
  • You spend too many hours working each day. Work hours vary from person to person. Workaholics usually don’t realize how much time they are working each day. Establishing boundaries between work and leisure is crucial. Allow yourself enough time to relax and unwind.
  • You feel guilty after spending time away from work.
  • Family conflicts.
  • Withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, depression, irritability, and trouble sleeping.

To prevent work addiction, try to cut back on your workload. Set reasonable goals for yourself.

Make sure you give yourself plenty of time off to rest and recover. Also, schedule regular breaks throughout the day.

What can you do if you feel you are addicted to work?

In contrast to overwork, work addiction is a mental health condition characterized by a compulsion to work. As with shopping or gaming addiction, some individuals are born with a predisposition towards work addiction, but most of us develop it as a result of our surroundings and experiences.

It is essential to understand that work addiction is different from being busy. Busyness is a natural response to personal life circumstances, whereas work addiction is a mental illness.

Learn to say no to work. This is an essential step toward overcoming work addiction. Learn to recognize when you’re overwhelmed and need to take some time off.

It is important to find healthy outlets for stress relief. Exercise, meditation, yoga, reading, writing, fun activities and socializing are just a few examples of activities that can reduce stress and improve overall well-being.

Consult a professional. Many treatment options are available, such as therapy, medication, and group support.

To conclusion

Every day, millions of Americans suffer from work addiction. Most Americans work more than 50 hours a week, and many work more than 60.

As a result, people suffer from stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer. The effects of work addiction go beyond our bodies. Our minds constantly focus on work, worrying about deadlines, and assessing our performance.

If we skip work for a while, we feel guilty because we worry that we’ll miss important information or work harder. However, taking breaks is essential for mental and physical health.

By taking regular breaks, we can recharge our batteries and reconnect with family, friends, hobbies, and other things that matter to us. This prevents burnout and maintains a positive attitude.

Breaks help us become more productive at work. We become more creative, make better decisions, and make fewer mistakes. Overall, taking breaks makes us happier.

When you feel stressed, anxious, depressed, or overwhelmed, take some time off. Spend some time with a friend, walk, or watch TV during your break. You should follow your heart.


Do You Manage Your Time Well? | McLean Hospital. Mcleanhospital.org. Published April 23, 2022.

Financial Stress: The Physical and Mental Effects | Quorum. Quorum Federal Credit Union. Published November 9, 2020.