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Workaholics Anonymous

A new assessment can help you determine if you have symptoms of work addiction.

Workoholic

Are you addicted to your job? The Bergen Work Addiction Scale, recently developed by researchers from Norway and the United Kingdom, can give you a quick diagnosis.

Work addiction — characterized by long hours, perfectionism and compulsiveness — is on the rise. And symptoms common to the affliction, which include insomnia, stress, burnout and family conflict, are often overlooked.

“Since work addiction sometimes has more positive than negative associations, it is hard for some to acknowledge this as a potential problematic disorder,” says Cecilie Schou Andreassen, PhD, of the University of Bergen in Bergen, Norway.

The Bergen scale uses seven criteria to help respondents determine whether they’re workaholics, including how often they’ve failed to take a break, worked longer than intended or become stressed about the job when they’re not on the clock. (To score yourself, see below.)

If you have a tendency toward overworking, Andreassen recommends socializing with people other than your colleagues, making time for your favorite form of exercise, learning a new hobby or developing an existing one, and seeking out stress- and time-management techniques. If you still can’t punch out, consider seeking the help of a therapist or counselor.

WEB EXTRA!

The Bergen Work Addiction Scale

There are seven basic criteria used to identify work addiction:

  • You think of how you can free up more time to work.
  • You spend much more time working than initially intended.
  • You work in order to reduce feelings of guilt, anxiety, helplessness and depression.
  • You have been told by others to cut down on work without listening to them
  • You become stressed if you are prohibited from working.
  • You deprioritize hobbies, leisure activities, and exercise because of your work.
  • You work so much that it has negatively influenced your health.

All items are scored on the following scale:

  1. Never,
  2. Rarely
  3. Sometimes
  4. Often
  5. Always

Andreassen's study shows that scoring of Often or Always on at least four of the seven items may suggest that you are a workaholic.


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