When work becomes addiction

Work is half-life, says the people’s mouth. But what if work becomes the whole life? According to experts, every seventh European is at risk of becoming addicted to working. The job accompanies the affected parties everywhere. But there is the help.

Petra’s (name changed) performance was always important. "Already at school, I had the feeling, despite good grades, that you have to do more." When she began an apprenticeship as a banker after the A-Level, this pressure intensified. Although her bosses praise her, she is never satisfied with herself and makes countless unpaid overtime. Even when she comes home late at night, she thinks about the job. Today know the 42-year-old, who now works as a teacher: she is a workaholic.

Petra is not alone with this problem: every seventh European is at risk of developing a morbid work fixation, estimates the work psychologist. Around 400,000 people are acutely addicted to work. The existence of those concerned consists only of the work and minimal resting phases for sleep, food intake, and hygiene.

When eating and sleeping becomes a side issue
The thoughts on the job often leave the affected person also in the leisure time no more. If part out cannot be worked out, because holidays are pending, workaholics often feel uncomfortable. "You constantly need to be productive," explains professor of company psychology at the University of Jena. The constant workload is a part of the body. The consequences are a headache, stomach irritation, dizziness and sleeping problems, explains professor of occupational psychology at the University. Petra used to eat to relieve stress. After four years and several increased pounds, she announces her job at the bank. She reoriented herself and began a lecture course. "Until the internship, everything was much more relaxed." But in the practical phase comes the relapse. "When I've just slept three more hours a week, I'm a psychologist."

The first step towards recovery is to admit the morbid fixation to the work. "To overcome the addiction, you need support. Therefore, professional family and friends should initiate as early as possible. In order to create more inner distance to the job, sick workers first take a longer holiday, advises psychologist. With rechargeable batteries, Workaholics would have to learn to take private appointments just as important as professional ones. Appointments with friends or family should be canceled only in the absolute exceptional case.

Team sport helps with stress in the job
A leisure activity in the team can additionally help those affected to overcome their unhealthy job fixation. One example of this is regular training in a football team. "In this way, the people concerned learn that they can also have attractive success outside of the job." In addition, in many cities in Europe, there are regular tables of the "Anonymous Workers". Here, affected persons can exchange information. Petra also helped in the meetings. She was drawn to the group on the Internet. Every two weeks, she meets with other people. "Sometimes I'm still too tightly focused on the job, for example, I'm doing a thousand times for my students, but I feel I'm on the road to recovery.

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