Addiction to Work Linked to Psychiatric Disorders

December 3, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. psychiatric / ˌsaɪ kiˈæ trɪk / (adj.) – describing something related to the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses
Example: Medication for mental illnesses may be prescribed only in psychiatric clinics.

2. fuel / ˈfyu əl / (v.) – to give support or strength to do something  
Example:  His ambition fuels his determination to work harder. 

3. compulsion / kəmˈpʌl ʃən /  (n.) – a strong urge to do something
Example: He bought a cake because he had the compulsion to eat dessert.

4. mull over / mʌl ˈoʊ vər / (idiom) – to think about something very carefully
Example: The applicant mulled over the job offer before signing the contract.  

5. to the point of tə ðəˈpɔɪnt ʌv / (idiom) – reaching a certain stage or degree
Example: He is so frank to the point of being offensive.


Read the text below.
Scientists from Norway have discovered a link between workaholism, or the addiction to work, and some psychiatric disorders.

Scientists from the University of Bergen / ˈbɜr gən / conducted the study to identify the factors that contribute to being a workaholic. They believe that by understanding these factors, initiatives to better prevent workaholism can be developed.

The team asked more than 16,000 Norwegian workers to answer an online self-evaluation form that checked whether a person is a workaholic or not. Some of the items include a person’s tendency to prioritize work over leisure activities and the likelihood of becoming stressed when prevented from working.

The participants were also asked to accomplish additional surveys that looked into psychiatric disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), anxiety, and depression. Results showed that workaholics are more likely to meet the criteria for these four disorders. The researchers concluded that psychiatric disorders could fuel a person’s compulsion to work excessively.

For example, people with ADHD might work longer hours because they are too distracted during regular hours. On the other hand, people with OCD tend to mull over every detail of their work to the point of obsession. Meanwhile, people with anxiety and depression may depend on positive work feedback to boost their low self-esteem.

Previous studies have associated workaholism with poor emotional and physical well-being. High blood pressure and weight gain are just some of the negative health effects linked to workaholism. In addition, work stress can also negatively affect a person’s mental well-being, as well as their relationship with people around them.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you believe that workaholism is a bad thing? Why or why not?
·         What can companies do to ensure that employees stay healthy? Discuss.

Discussion B
·         Do you think that the average working hours in your country is too short, just enough, or too long? Why?
·         In your opinion, what is the ideal number of work hours in a day? Explain. 

December 3, 2016