Denial of the problem

One of the most important challenges related to the treatment of work addiction is the denial and resistance to search for treatment among those who might need it. In general, most of the addicted individuals do not recognize their problem or seek help; however, it has been argued by clinicians that this problem is even more pronounced among work addicts as their behavior is supported by the high value put on hard work in industrialized societies. 

A study comparing perceptions between couples showed that less than 50% of individuals identified as work addicts by partners self-identified as addicted to work.

A quantitative content analysis of frequency of different sources employed in articles in daily newspapers from Finland, Italy, and Poland from the years 1991, 1998 and 2011 showed that on average work addiction was mentioned about 12 times less often than alcohol addiction. On average it was mentioned in 3.33% of the articles in comparison to 39.9% of articles mentioning alcohol addiction.

Studies on nationally representative samples of general population in Poland showed that work addiction is considered considebarly less serious and dangerous addiction than alcohol, drug addiction, smoking ciggaretes or gambling addiction. Participants were asked about their opinions about particular addictions. They rated them on a scale from 1 “harmless habit” to 10 “life-threatening addiction”. Work addiction score was about 6 on average, while alcohol and drug addiction had average scores above 9. However, a clear trend of slowly growing recognition of dangers related to work addiction can also be absorved. In each consecutive sample work addiction was rated higher. From 5.8 in 2011, 6.0 in 2015 to 6.2 in 2019. This trend was not present for other behavioral addictions such as internet, gambling or shopping addiction.