from: WORKING OURSELVES TO DEATH - And The Rewards of Recovery By Diane Fassel, Harper Paperbacks, N.Y. 1990.

Workaholism is a progressive, fatal disease in which a person is addicted to the process of working.

Workaholics are in DENIAL. They are dishonest, controlling, judgmental, perfectionistic, self centered, dualistic in their thinking, confused, crisis oriented, and ultimately spiritually bankrupt.

Common Myths About Workaholism;

* Workaholics are always working
* Workaholism only affects high powered executives and yuppies
* Its only stress and burnout. and can be "managed" with stress reduction techniques
* No one ever died of hard work
* Workaholism is profitable for corporations
* Workaholism is a positive addiction
* Workaholics are super productive, they get ahead
* Workaholism only adversely affects the workaholic

Types of Work Addicts

* The Compulsive is their God
* The binge worker
* The closet worker
* The work anorexic

Characteristics Of Workaholics

* Multiple Addictions - especially money, food, and relationships --life long process
* Denial --first defense of any addictive process -tricky because they may boast about it
* Self-Esteem problems -they may have over or under inflated perceptions of themselves
* They may be dishonest by exaggerating achievements and minimizing failures
* External Referencing--looking outside yourself for clues to how to act or what to feel
* They often are focused on the outside environment or on lists
* Inability to relax -- They often run on hyper-adrenaline.
* Obsessiveness -- They are always thinking about work - while in bed , driving, visiting, etc.
* Other less common characteristics: Dishonesty, Self-centeredness, Isolation, Control, Perfectionism, Self-Abuse, Lack of Intimacy, Physical and Psychological Problems, and Spiritual Bankruptcy.


Read each of the 25 statements below & decide how much each one pertains to you. Using the rating scale of 1 (never true); 2 (seldom true); 3 (often true); and 4 (always true), put the number that best fits you in the blank beside each statement.

1. _____ I prefer to do most things myself rather than ask for help.

2. _____ I get very impatient when I have to wait for someone else or when something takes too long, such as long-slow moving lines.____

3. _____ I seem to be in a hurry and racing against the clock.

4. _____ I get irritated when I am interrupted while I am in the middle of something.

5. _____ I stay busy and keep many "irons in the fire".

6. _____ I find myself doing 2 or 3 things at one time, such as eating lunch & writing a memo, while talking on the telephone.

7. _____ I overly commit myself by biting off more than I can chew.

8. _____ I feel guilty when I am not working on something.

9. _____ It is important that I see the concrete results of what I do.

10. _____ I am more interested in the final result of my work than in the process.

11. _____ Things just never seem to move fast enough or get done fast enough for me.

12. _____ I lose my temper when things don't go my way or work out to suit me.

13. _____ I ask the same question over again, without realizing it, after I've already been given the answer once.

14. _____ I spend a lot of time mentally planning & thinking about future events while tuning out the here & now.

15. _____ I find myself still working after my co-workers have called it quits.

16. _____ I get angry when people don't meet my standards of perfection.

17. _____ I get upset when I am in situations where I can not be in control.

18. _____ I tend to put myself under pressure with self-imposed deadlines when I work.

19. _____ It is hard for me to relax when I'm not working.

20. _____ I spend more time working than on socializing with friends, on hobbies or on leisure activities.

21. _____ I dive into projects to get a head start before all the phases have been finalized.

22. _____ I get upset with myself for making even the smallest mistake.

23. _____ I put more thought, time, & energy into my work than I do into my relationships, with my spouse, (or lover) and family.

24. _____ I forget, ignore or minimize important family celebrations such as birthdays, reunions, anniversaries or holidays.

25. _____ I make important decisions before I have all the facts & have a chance to think them through thoroughly.

Add up your scores.

25-54 = Not Work addicted
55-69 = Mildly Work addicted
70-100 = Highly Work addicted

From "Work Addiction - Hidden Legacies of Adult Children", by Bryan E. Robinson, Ph.D., Health Communications,Inc, Dearfield Beach, Florida,1989.