Your eyes are forever fixed on the screen, eagerly awaiting an email or WhatsApp message from work. Your meals are hastily devoured, your mind consumed by unfinished tasks. Anything unrelated to work holds no allure. Stress weighs heavily upon you, but the thought of not working amplifies your anxiety even more.
Do you find yourself teetering on the precipice of workaholism, where responsibility has morphed into obsession? Be aware that this predicament, though it may appear commendable, is a pervasive issue recognized as a public health concern.
How many souls suffer from the relentless grip of Burnout Syndrome? It is estimated that this affliction, acknowledged by the WHO as a disease since 2019, plagues 10% of the workforce. In its most severe forms, it torments between 2% and 5%.
Paradoxically, this addiction remains difficult to identify and treat due to society's reverential regard and even rewards for overworking. When a boss witnesses an employee lingering in the office beyond their designated hours or remaining perpetually available, trust and esteem surge towards that individual. They unwittingly become a beacon of emulation. However, the World Health Organization defines overwork as "physical and mental exhaustion due to chronic stress..."
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A survey by Rasmussen Reports unveils the five nations where toiling incessantly is most prevalent, potentially fostering workaholism. Leading the pack is Turkey, with 46.13% of respondents admitting to arduous labor. Japan secures second place, with a substantial 31.7% share. Trailing closely behind is Mexico, as 28.63% of respondents confess to enduring long hours. South Korea claims fourth place, boasting a 27.66% share. Finally, Israel concludes the list, with 17.58% of respondents acknowledging their involvement in arduous work hours.
We are not defined by our occupation alone. Astonishing as it may sound, work can become an addiction, akin to alcohol or any other psychoactive substance, unbeknownst to the individual. This dependency wreaks havoc on their health, environment, and even their productivity. It becomes a formidable challenge to halt this relentless race towards dependence, particularly due to its silent nature. The root cause? Placing all one's worth as a human being in the hands of work.
To a certain extent, this inclination seems logical and resonates with us all. Work bestows upon us a sense of identity, influences our self-esteem, and even determines our social standing. However, for a portion of the workforce, this notion transforms into an extreme, where work becomes their sole validation as individuals. Does this sound familiar? Consequently, they dedicate an excessive amount of time and energy to their occupation, engaging in it with unwavering intensity and compulsion. It morphs into an addiction that masquerades as responsibility, dedication, and the sacrifice of personal life.
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Psychological traits and environmental factors blend together, making it arduous to distinguish between devotion to work and addiction. A boss who refuses to grant respite, or a corporate culture that rewards such behavior, further muddles the boundaries. Nevertheless, there are telltale signs that can aid in recognizing this distinction.
An article by IMQ Prevention outlines the most common symptoms of Burnout Syndrome:
-- Excessive devotion of time and effort, accompanied by an involuntary compulsion to persist in work.
-- A general disinterest in any activities outside of work, be it leisure, sports, family, or friends. Idle time breeds depression and anxiety, making vacations and breaks an opportunity to brood over work.
-- Consistently working more than 45 hours per week, extending into six or seven days. Late nights and mere slivers of rest punctuate their days.
-- An incessant attachment to cell phones or computers, remaining perpetually connected, day and night.
-- Even when ill, they persist in working, relegating their health to the bottom of their priorities, as work takes precedence over all else.
-- Meals are consumed in haste, be it in the car or at their work desk.
-- They never decline new projects, clients, or responsibilities, incapable of uttering the word "No" to additional work.
-- They crave external validation, yearning to be hailed as a "hard worker," "the epitome of efficiency," or "the consummate employee." Their self-esteem hinges on these accolades.
-- Conversations predominantly revolve around work, leaving little room for other topics.
-- Delegating responsibilities poses a challenge, as they yearn to supervise and control every aspect, justifying it as the path to excellence.
Burnout Syndrome bears strong associations with anxiety and depression. Consequently, this affliction is garnering increasing attention and concern. One country at the forefront of addressing this issue is the United States. Workaholics Anonymous was established there in the early 1980s, adopting a 12-step recovery program akin to Alcoholics Anonymous.
Today, more than a hundred support groups convene worldwide, spanning from Argentina to the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan. Virtual meetings via Skype or telephone provide an avenue for participation. Should you harbor any doubts or firmly believe you suffer from workaholism, seek assistance in your own country or, virtually, from groups located elsewhere. Approach this matter with the utmost seriousness!