Researchers Explore The Link Between Work Addiction Risk And Health-Related Outcomes

Work addiction or workaholism is becoming a general health concern these days. It can actually lead to various adverse mental and physical health issues, like anxiety, depression, or other sleep disorders.

While several factors can lead to it, the demands of the job may be a significant reason leading to an employee’s work addiction.

News Medical talks about our work ethics and risks related to addiction.

The international group of researchers with the HSE University scientists led this research. In this study, they investigated the connection between the dangers of work fixation and well-being. For that, they used the Job Demand Control Model system. 

The outcomes were published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

What is Work Addiction?

In simple terms, work addiction is a condition in which someone starts overworking, which may be due to multiple reasons. Although, this condition is totally different from a situation where a person is highly engaged in his job. 

Woman sitting at a desk working.

The difference lies in the mental state. See, a workaholic person works more, but he does not enjoy doing it. In fact, he feels forced to do it due to internal or external pressures. Whereas a person merely engaged in his job enjoys working.

Workaholic individuals work at least seven hours and sometimes even more. There can be several reasons behind it, such as:

  • Financial issues
  • Helpless marriage
  • Extra workload by their organization or supervisor

Workaholism is even considered a behavioral disorder. It means the extreme contribution of a person when it is not needed.

According to research, around 5-10 percent of US citizens meet the criteria for work addiction. These numbers are evidence that workaholism is no more a joke. Instead, it is a serious concern that needs proper attention.

Like other addictions, work addiction leads to different physical and mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and chronic fatigue.

Symptoms of Workaholism

Mostly, a person does not even know he’s falling prey to this disorder. However, the common symptoms of work addiction include:

  • Working late even after work hours without any significant requirement
  • Ignoring sleep or waking up early to complete a task
  • Showing extra keenness for work-related success
  • Fear of failing at duties extremely
  • Using work as an excuse to avoid personal relationships such as marital relationship
  • Working extra hours to keep depression, guilty feelings, and anxiety at bay   

Research on Workaholism

The purpose behind the study was to demonstrate the role of high job demands and mental health and their contribution to work addiction. The scientists used four job classes suggested by the Job-Demand-Control-Support model (JDCS) in the study. 

The JDCS model supposes four different work environments. In all of these four categories, the employees work in different job demands and job control.

JCDS Quadrants

Let’s explore the workplace quadrants. Here is a quick review of each:

  • Latent strain
  • Low-strain
  • Dynamic strain
  • Tense/work strain

Latent Strain

First, the latent positions mean low occupation control or low occupation requests. In this category, the workers are generally satisfied with the job as long as they can meet their goals.

Low Strain

Secondly, Low strain occupations have high control and low requests. People in this classification are not in danger of emotional wellness issues. It usually compares to innovative positions, for instance, planners.

Dynamic Strain

Thirdly, Dynamic specialists have high occupation requests and high occupation control. They are profoundly gifted experts with obligations. In addition, they are the heads or overseers of organizations.

Those profoundly gifted specialists have exceptionally demanding undertakings.

Tense Strain

The Workers in the “tense strain” category are in danger of stress-related problems. This group typically has high job demand but less job control. 

For instance, in the emergency department of a hospital, the health care workers are commonly under job strain. It is because they can’t handle the extraordinary work burden.

Occupation Control

Occupation control is the degree to which a representative feels command over a job. 

The examination took place in France. It is one of the mechanical nations with developing quantities of occupations.

The creators of the exploration gathered information from 11.8% of French laborers. They consented to take part in a cross-sectional examination. They participated with the assistance of the Witty Fit programming on the web stage.

Furthermore, the creators of this examination separated all the members dependent on their work-related gatherings. They explored the connection between work compulsion hazard and mental/physical health.

Research Outcome

The results depicted that the high job demands at work are firmly connected to the risk of work addiction. However, the role of job control level wasn’t the same.

Usually, work addiction risk is higher for high-strain workers as compared to uninvolved and low-strain workers. These two categories of workers seemed, by all accounts, to be more prone to the adverse outcomes of the work addiction risk.

Therefore, one can experience the ill effects of work dependence, like depression, rest issues, stress, and other medical problems.

In addition, the job demands might be the leading cause of work addiction risk.

Along these lines, this factor should be controlled or researched by the association’s director, for example, HR staff, analysts, etc.

Additionally, another factor could be the work atmosphere. Job demands of each workgroup can impact the pace of work addiction risk.

Hence the examination was centered around external factors, like occupation requests. It wasn’t focused on internal factors like individual attributes.

Individuals with higher work addiction stood out from people with low work impulse. They had twice the risk of getting depressed. Also, the sleep quality of workers with a high work addiction risk was poor than those who had a low work addiction risk. 

What are the Side-Effects of Workaholism?

The study found out that a person having high work addiction risk had two times the risk of developing depression.  Moreover, the workers with low work addiction risk in the study had fewer sleeping problems than those with high work addition risks.

Similarly, women were at higher risk of developing work addiction than men.

How to Treat Work Addiction?

The first step towards getting the needed treatment is acknowledgment. You first need to identify if you have a problem. Today, we live in a society that appreciates and rewards workaholic individuals. This attitude actually sets the base of the entire work addiction disorder.

Back in 1998, the United States probably had the most elevated levels of obsessive workers. Numerous individuals were working over 50 hours each week.

Work dependence isn’t equivalent to working for extended periods. It’s an actual issue that affects your personal and professional life.

When you notice you have an issue, there are many things you can do to attempt to build up a better attitude:

  • Set a work timetable and stick to it
  • Set aside a few minutes for your loved ones
  • Seek the help of a specialist or advisor

In case you are dependent on work, you’ll feel an urgent need to take care of your work. At the point when you’re away from it, you’ll find it hard to stifle the urge. In this way, it can influence your psychological well-being as well as your social networking.

The good news is, there’s assistance. 

Outpatient Treatment

The most effective and common treatments for work addiction behavior include outpatient therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing (MI).

Typically, CBT helps you recognize your negative thinking process that ultimately leads to damaging behaviors. Consequently, you learn how to convert these negative thoughts to positive ones and develop constructive behavior overall.

A couple camping in the woods.

On the other hand, MI makes you aware of your willingness to change your negative thoughts and behavior to something positive. In addition, you also learn the factors that may be hampering your willingness.

Finally, you succeed in identifying a positive motivation in yourself that helps you fight every element of fear and resistance blocking your way.

Group Therapy

Many people believe that group therapy isn’t practical for treating work addiction. However, some still support group therapy for people recovering or fighting work addiction.

In group therapy, you sit with emphatic individuals who not only listen to your harsh experiences but share theirs as well.

12-step groups are widely known for helping people with any kind of addiction. You can join a group during your outpatient treatment or after completing the program. 

In these groups, you will get to communicate with different people having the same issue as yours. Speaking your heart out with others works as a huge stress relief. However, the only requisite for joining this group is that you must fully recognize your addiction. 

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High occupation requests at work are related to work habit hazards. The risk of work addiction is higher for dynamic and high-strain workers. Comparatively, latent and low-strain laborers are not that much troubled.

These two workgroups have all the earmarks of being more powerless. Therefore, they can experience the negative effects of work addiction risk such as depression, sleeping problems, stress, and health.

Preventive measures, for example, social help programs, may prove helpful. These programs help you recognize hazardous components of work addiction, thereby making you more aware. Once you recognize the signs, treatment is just the next step.

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