When Does Alcohol Become a Problem for People With Workaholism?

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woman at desk at work

According to a 2016 study published in the Psychological Science Agenda, workaholism consists of several things:

  • Feeling compelled to work due to external pressures
  • Having persistent thoughts about work when not working
  • Working beyond what is reasonably expected of the worker, despite negative consequences that might ensue

There has been much debate in regard to whether workaholism is a positive or negative phenomenon, however it is suggested that it all depends on the context of the situation and what is motivating a person. For example, individuals who work long hours consistently in order to avoid dealing with emotional turmoil are doing so in unhealthy ways.

Previous studies have shown that workaholism is associated with alcoholism. A 2012 study conducted by researchers in New Zealand found that of 1019 participants, longer hours worked were associated with more frequent alcohol use, higher rates of alcohol abuse/dependence, and greater symptoms associated with these disorders. Furthermore, the study found that individuals working more than 50 hours a week had rates of 1-3 times higher for alcohol-related problems than those who did not work as much.

The Los Angeles Times reports that while not a lot of research has been conducted as to why individuals with workaholism drink more, but there are several theories suggested. One is that alcohol helps people relieve stress from a long workweek. Another involves the “work hard play hard” mentality adopted by many people in America.

Research has shown that there is difference between individuals who work a lot because they love their job, and those with workaholism who do not get much satisfaction from it. For those with workaholism, the bar of success may be set higher and higher, causing the person to feel burnt out, stressed, depressed, anxious, and more. Many with workaholism lean towards alcohol to help them cope with the stress. This eventually leads to alcoholism when a person compulsively drinks, even when there are negative consequences from this spilling out into other aspects of their life.

Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are struggling with alcoholism, we provide several different effective techniques to help you overcome your obstacles  If you are ready to seek treatment, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. Recovery is possible, and you are not alone.

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