Do You Always Work To Forget A Mental Agony? That’s Not The Way To Handle It!

By: Shubham Ghosh

More productivity earns more reward and that is something we all know. But, does more work also make us more vulnerable to mental health problems? Yes, recent studies have suggested so. Scientists have suggested a link between workaholics and mental illnesses, which we have focussed on, in this article.

Outcomes of a new research in Norway have suggested that some workaholics can suffer from mental illnesses when compared to people who maintain a proper balance between personal and professional lives. These illnesses may include:

1. Anxiety
2. Depression
3. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
4. Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

workaholics and mental illness

It is very important to look for these disorders in people who willingly take their professional life to the extreme and refuse to detach themselves with the productivity.

For the employers, such workers might seem an asset; but from the latter's point of view, it could be a symptom of a deep psychiatric disorder. Even the most successful of workaholics might not be above this problem, the study has warned.

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It is not research on this topic that has reached a conclusion on the cause-effect relation between overworking and mental health and neither people have arrived at a consensus on defining who exactly is a 'workaholic' and who is a 'hard worker' - but experts feel that those who belong to the first group indeed have some mental challenges that are hard to cure and they find relentless working a good way to overcome these challenges.

workaholics and mental illness

Reasons That Cause This :
It is not established what exactly causes the relationship between workaholics and the disappointing state of their mental health, but there are assumptions that workaholics remain glued to the work to get over feelings of guilt, helplessness and anxiety.

These negative feelings might be related to their personal life, which is not always known unless counselled, but the way of ignoring persistent mental crisis by trying to focus more on work is not a great one either.

It will only see one getting trapped in the vicious cycle of mental disturbance, leading to more workaholism and that in turn leading to bigger mental disorders. If this unhealthy chain is not broken, a workaholic person can eventually reach the tipping point and collapse.

Sometimes, however, genetic reasons can also be the cause of this disorder and workaholism aggravates it further.

workaholics and mental illness

Symptoms That Can Be Seen In A Workaholic:
Are you feeling the following tendencies in yourself or in any of your colleague? You may be becoming a workaholic then:

1. Unlike other workers who want to wind up fast and go home and relax after office hours, you decide to fill up your coffee mug and begin a fresh assignment even after working for the scheduled period.

2. You feel stressed out if you have finished your work or have stopped from doing your work.

3. You don't care even if people warn you of a burnout by working excessively.

4. Your too-much work has started affecting your health, but you still don't bother.

Eventually what happens is scary..
If you fail to correct the course and continue to remain addicted to your work, you tend to grow ADHD, OCD, etc. It means your initial problems of anxiety and depression now have snowballed into bigger problems because you didn't care for yourself.

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What Can Be Done:
Conclusive research might take more years to come out on the treatment of this problem; but if you want to stay healthy, you can always do it yourself.

Here are some steps you can take to ensure that you don't become a workaholic to multiply an already existing problem:

1. If you have a personal reason to feel mentally exhausted, meet a counsellor for a treatment and not try to overlook it by working more. It won't help you eventually.

2. Discipline yourself when it comes to overworking. Leave your terminal as soon as the official working hours get over. Convince yourself that you will not get an extra pay for the extra hours, unless there is an emergency whereby your company demands more work from you. Utilise the extra time watching a movie or having good food or catching up with friends.

workaholics and mental illness

3. Remember that work is not the most important thing in your life. Even if you are living alone, do things that give you an artistic or creative satisfaction.

4. Develop habits or revive the passion that you have buried under your files and folders.

5. Take a day off from your work. When your office gives you weekly holidays, don't pitch in with work from home. Instead, utilise the time to learn new things in life. Go on a long drive, eat an ice cream, etc.

6. Meditate to get more spiritual energy. Travel to scenic places during weekends or when you plan a vacation.

7. Do not overstress yourself. Set your own time-frame to work. And do not stick to your work place for 15 hours a day. Your brain is made to work at its best for eight hours maximum.

8. Do whatever you are doing efficiently. Do not rush to deliver the work before time, so that you can start another one in the time being.

Read more about: mental, illness
Story first published: Monday, October 17, 2016, 13:30 [IST]
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