Spending late nights at the office and missing a kid's piano recital or three might be a sign of a deeper psychiatric problem, according to a study published last week in PLOS One. Researches found workaholism was statistically linked with anxiety, depression, OCD, and ADHD. “Workaholics scored higher on all the psychiatric symptoms than non-workaholics," researcher Cecilie Schou Andreassen says in a press release. Researchers found 32.7% of workaholics had ADHD versus 12.7% of non-workaholics; 25.6% had OCD versus 8.7% of non-workaholics; 33.8% had anxiety versus 11.9% of non-workaholics; and 8.9% had depression versus 2.6% of non-workaholics.
Without further research, the nature of the relationship between workaholism and common psychiatric conditions is unclear. But Schou Andreassen notes, “Taking work to the extreme may be a sign of deeper psychological or emotional issues." Researchers found 7.8% of the nearly 16,500 adults studied were workaholics, which they determined with a series of seven statements participants could rank, including, “You think of how you can free up more time to work” and “You become stressed if you are prohibited from working.” But not everyone is convinced. “Any human behavior can be turned into a disease,” a professor at Liverpool University tells the Financial Times. “It’s this tendency to pathologize the usual messy realities of life, of which work is one.” (Here's why we shouldn't have to find meaning in work.)