We explain what a workaholic or workaholic is and what their characteristics are. In addition, we inform you what are the causes of workaholism.

ONE workaholics he clings to his work compulsively, incessantly and unhealthy.

what is a workaholics or workaholic?

A workaholic, also called workaholics (of English to work“worked”) is a person who has a workaholic relationship, that is, that he is linked to his world of work in a compulsive, incessant and unhealthy way. This term has become popular since the late 20th century, especially in its Anglo-Saxon form, despite having valid Spanish equivalents such as work-a-holic any ergonomic.

Although this condition is not described psychologically or medically, nor does it constitute a formally recognized addiction problem, such as alcoholism or drug addiction, work addiction emerged as a term in English speech in the mid-20th century. While it has clear negative connotations, it is often used in everyday speech to indicate that someone is very committed to their work or that they prioritize their career over other aspects of life.

The first recorded formal use of the term workaholics dates from 1968, but its popularity is due to the book Confessions of a Workaholic (“Confessions of a workaholic”) by American Wayne Oates. Later, in the 1990s, it was a term widely used in self-help and self-help jargon. New Agewas used to describe the increasing fixation on work and office life that the Western world has experienced since then.

See also: Occupational health

typical features of workaholics

In general, some characteristics of a work-a-holic are:

  • It conceives work as the central, fundamental and vital aspect of its existenceabove other traditionally important topics such as love, family, entertainment, etc., in which he shows disinterest.
  • Dedicate time and effort to work even on holidays, vacation periods or when sick.
  • Working tremendously long hours, both alone and telecommuting from home. This is due to the difficulty in setting limits to work.
  • Shows anxious or depressive behavior when it is impossible for him to work or in case of absence from work, even if justified.
  • Is unable to refuse new work responsibilitiesno matter what toll these new responsibilities take on your personal life.
  • Software desire for recognition in the professional field and difficulty in receiving them in other areas.
  • Software feelings of superiority over othersincluding co-workers, and often also arrogant or authoritarian attitudes towards them.

How to know if someone is workaholics?

A person workaholics is different from a hardworking and committed person, and this is a difference that everyone notices, except, precisely, a workaholic. There are degrees of dependence on work, and this is usually reflected in fundamental aspects: personal life, pleasures and hobbies, and the affective way of living and understanding the successes and failures of work.

a workaholic does a lifetime of work, just as an addict does with the substance he consumes. Therefore, as a self-assessment in this regard, we can ask ourselves the following questions:

  • Do we invest the time it deserves in work or do we let it invade every space of our existence?
  • How often do we sacrifice central and vital issues in our lives for work? How do we feel when we do? Do we recognize this as a sacrifice?
  • How many meaningful social relationships do we have outside of work? How much of our life is interesting, exciting, or relevant to us outside of work?
  • What would losing our job mean for us, besides the socioeconomic aspect?

Causes of work addiction

A workaholic is a person who works even when they are out of work, that is, they have difficulty putting limits on their professional life. This could be due to different factors.

Many workaholics have learned to value their work above all else in their lives. This one can happen due to personal situations of lack of economic resources in the past, for example. In this sense, the excess of work is due to an anguish strongly installed in the individual.

This distress can also reveal other underlying factors, which are not necessarily related to intense or traumatic work-related experiences. For example, many workaholics suffer from low self-esteem and a feeling of worthlessness that convinces them to dedicate 100% of their lives to work, otherwise they run the continual risk of being fired.

Other possibilities have to do with the world outside the workaholic person’s workplace: it is common for a workaholic to take refuge in the office so as not to have to face personal problems or everyday situations that are painful for him and that constitute major life failures: the inability to find love or friendship, the absence of a family, among others.

These people then take refuge in work and end up fulfilling their own prophecy, as dedicating everything to work makes it difficult to meet new people, visit family members and even attend to emotional aspects in psychotherapy.

forms of treatment

To combat workaholism, it is better to go to a specialist: a psychotherapist or psychologist who can unravel the causes of addiction and treat it. Patient effort is required, as are other types of addictions, and often the process can be facilitated with the use of medical or alternative therapies, at the discretion of the specialist.

Continue with: Professionalism


  • “Workaholic” on Wikipedia.
  • “Workaholic” in Fundéu.
  • “Are you a high achiever or a workaholic?” at BBC News World.
  • “Work addiction: the workaholic syndrome” in the newspaper Nueva Tribuna (Spain).
  • “7 Signs You Might Be a Workaholic” at Forbes.


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