Mental health risks linked to working too much

Workaholics are more likely to display symptoms of psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety and ADHD, a new study has found.

Researchers in Europe and the US investigated the link between workaholism and psychiatric disorders in almost 16,500 working adults.

They found that workaholics ‘scored higher on all the psychiatric symptoms than non-workaholics'.

For example, just 11% of non-workaholics were found to be suffering with anxiety, but among workaholics, this figure jumped to almost 34%. Just over 8% of non-workaholics were found to display symptoms of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), but this rose to 25% in workaholics.

When it came to ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), 12% of non-workaholics showed symptoms compared to 32% of workaholics. Meanwhile, just over 2% of non-workaholics displayed symptoms of depression, compared to almost 9% of workaholics.

"Taking work to the extreme may be a sign of deeper psychological or emotional issues. Whether this reflects overlapping genetic vulnerabilities, disorders leading to workaholism or, conversely, workaholism causing such disorders, remain uncertain," commented researchers from the University of Bergen in Norway.

The team used seven recognised criteria to determine whether a person was a workaholic. Some of these criteria included always thinking of how to free up more time for work, spending much more time working than originally intended, becoming stressed if you are stopped from working and working so much that it has had a negative impact on your health.

Those who scored highly on at least four of the seven criteria were deemed to be workaholics.

Almost 8% of the participants in this study were found to be workaholics, which would be in line with previous research.

Details of these findings are published in the journal, PLOS One.



[Posted: Thu 26/05/2016]

Top of page

Back to News