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Workaholics more likely to suffer from psychiatric disorders

27 May 2016 - 09:16 By AZIZZAR MOSUPI

Being an overachiever may benefit you in the grander scheme of things but in the work space it is found frequently to co-occur with psychiatric disorders. A recent study by the University of Bergen, Nottingham Trent University and Yale University found that workaholism can co-occur with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety and depression.Examining the association between workaholism and psychiatric disorders among 16426 working adults, researcher and clinical psychologist Cecilie Schou Andreassen found that a significant number of workaholics scored higher on psychiatric symptoms than non-workaholics.As many as 32.7% of workaholics met ADHD criteria, compared with 12.7% of non-workaholics; 25.6% met OCD criteria, compared with only 8.7% of non-workaholics; 33.8% of workaholics were more likely to suffer from anxiety compared with 11.9% of non-workaholics; and 8.9% of workaholics met the depression criteria compared with 2.6% of non-workaholics.Earlier research by the Cent re for Biotechnology Information described workaholism as "excessive and compulsive working, driven by internal and external forces".Schou Andreassen said: "Taking work to the extreme may be a sign of deeper psychological or emotional issues [but] whether this reflects overlapping genetic vulnerabilities, disorders leading to workaholism or, conversely, workaholism causing such disorders, remains uncertain."Industrial psychologist Louis Linde said in South Africa "working hard is [ sometimes seen] as an excuse to run away from personal problems". Young people were more likely to be workaholics because they needed to "prove themselves".Louise Schubert, also an industrial psychologist, said she had found the workaholic trend in older, white males, in mid- to senior management positions, who needed to prove they could provide for their families.ARE YOU ADDICTED TO WORK?Seven "valid criteria" used to draw the line between addictive and non addictive behaviour.Experiences in the past year are rated from 1 (never) to 5 (always):You think of how you can free up more time to work.You spend much more time working than initially intended.You work to reduce feelings of anxiety, depression, guilt or helplessness.Others have told you to cut down work but you didn't listen.You become stressed if you are prohibited from working.You deprioritise hobbies and/or exercise for your work.You work so much that your health is negatively influenced.Four (often) or 5 (always) on four or more criteria identifies a workaholic...

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