The Problem of Workaholism
Workaholism is an addiction that has afflicted millions of people across the globe. This problem is made serious by the fact that it is oftentimes unrecognized by the individuals affected by it. …
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Because of this, most of those who are suffering from workaholism have not really taken concrete steps to resolve the issue. Instead, they continue to hold on to the habit under the impression that it is just normal. Methods of diagnosis have been introduced so that this serious concern is addressed to avoid the physical, emotional, psychological, and social repercussions. Introduction Workaholism is a term that never existed in the 19th century and even in early part of the 20th century. The term itself is apparently a combination of two terms that connote both the positive and negative. The prefix ‘work’ has always been considered as positive for it represents the identity of the individual and his capability to survive. The remaining two syllables, however, is obviously derived from ‘alcoholism,’ a negative term that refers to addiction. Workaholism therefore is an addiction to work. According to Peter Mudrack, “a workaholic obviously works ‘too much’ and is consumed with work to the exclusion of other activities” (2006, p. 108). While work may be a generally positive aspect, taking to an extreme level which results in the neglect of other normal human activities can become detrimental to the individual. However, workaholism is not imposed by a force external to the individual. Instead, it is freely acquired and practiced by an individual. Here lies the problem since people may not even recognize that they are already workaholics. They may just tend to believe that they are just being more diligent and hardworking than others; that they are just spending more time and efforts on their respective endeavors that what is normally demanded by their superiors. With such perspective, it naturally becomes impossible for them to realize that they are harming themselves physically and emotionally and destroying their social lives in the process. Gravity of the Problem It is interesting to note that the problem of workaholism is not worse in countries that are ruled by authoritarian regimes or where the culture itself puts heavy emphasis on work while setting aside all other normal and necessary human activities. The issue is actually worse in countries with strong industrial and prosperous economies. One clear indicator is how people in a particular country generally treat the holidays provided to them by law or by their companies. In Japan, only 33 percent of the workforce actually take advantage of the holidays, while 57 percent and 47 percent the same in the United States and Australia respectively (Business Insider). These data show the magnitude of the problem worldwide. What makes it even worse is that majority of the people in these countries do not see overwork as a problem. The Japanese take pride in it, recognizing it as part of their culture. Americans, on the other hand, consider it as part of the requirements to realize the American Dream, while envying the Japanese for their attitude towards work. The adverse effects of workaholism to the individual are gradual. This is the reason why it may be difficult for one ascertain whether he is already a workaholic or not. The psychological effects are usually depression, stress, short-temperedness or irritability. The ability to come up with wise judgments can be greatly reduced. The physical effects are often attributed to mere job-related stress but these could actually be symptoms of workaholism, such as hypertension, over-fatigue, palpitation, and general weakening of the immune systems. All these are definitely harmful to the individual. However, another very devastating effect of workaholism is on the social life of the person who suffers from it. When one focuses his attention only to work, he would naturally ignore
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