“I never knew i was addicted until I tried to stop”
An individual can become addicted, dependent, or compulsively obsessed with any activity, substance, object, or behavior that gives him or her satisfaction or pleasure. Several researchers imply that there is a similarity between physical addiction to various chemicals, such as alcohol and heroin, and psychological dependence involved in such activities as compulsive gambling, sex, work, running, or eating disorders. The reason for this is that these behavior activities may produce beta-endorphins in the brain, which makes the person feel “high.” These and other reports suggest that if a person continues to engage in the activity to achieve this feeling of well-being and euphoria, he/she may get into an addictive cycle. In so doing, he/she becomes physically addicted to his/her own brain chemicals, thus leading to continuation of the behavior even though it may have negative health or social consequences.
In our society we reward work – Work hard, play hard, save your money, and anything in the world can be yours is the basis of this philosophy. Society implies that the person who spends much time at the office or studying, if it brings more money, job promotion, or better grades, is “being productive.” In fact, many individuals who have spent most of their time working have made extremely positive contributions to society and have often changed history because of their dedication.
On the other hand, if the “work” becomes an obsession to the extent that family, friends, other interests, or hobbies become unimportant and ignored, the person is then thought to be a workaholic or work addict. Complete devotion to work, to the exclusion of close relationships,often leads to family problems and divorce. It can lead to loneliness in old age, when the person realizes that all of his or her accomplishments really “do not mean much, were not rewarded properly, and who will care anyway a 100 years from now what I did or did not do.”
Workaholics who become “absent parents” can cause psychological problems in their children. For example, if a father promises his child that they will go to the basketball game on Saturday and, when that day arrives, tells the child that he will not be able to take the child because of a business emergency, the child may lose faith in the father, especially if the behavior occurs frequently.
The work addict often has low self esteem, feels inadequate, has a compulsion to set goals and meet them, and feels anxious and distraught when he or she is not “doing something.” Workaholics find it difficult to relax and just “do nothing.” When “relaxing” they often feel guilty because they are not being productive and will spend their free time becoming more and more anxious because they are doing nothing until they are back at work again.
All of this plus other, unrecognised behaviours which could actually be addictions, both in and out of the workplace could have a negative performance and financial impact at work and on the business.
If you have concerns that yourself, a loved one, colleague or friend may have a behavioural problem or an addiction that might escalate, then Addiction Behavioural Therapies can help. We specialise in helping people to successfully deal with addiction, harmful behaviours and impulse control. We work with individuals who are concerned that they may have an addiction with alcohol, drugs, sex and love, gambling, shopping and destructive behaviours such as self harm.
We work across the UK. Clients can access our confidential services through face to meetings, the phone or Skype. Whatever your addiction concerns we help you take back control.
About the Author
Richard Winterbourne | ABT Support | Business Member
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