In case of worrying results in our survey, such as an indication of work addiction or work-related depression, or if you feel that you may suffer from these problems further clinical tests are necessary that could confirm or rule out the possible diagnosis.

Please contact a professional to obtain proper diagnosis and help!

There are three factors to take into account when thinking about work addiction solutions: 1) denial of the problem, 2) severity of the problem, 3) perspective/level of analysis.

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. 

Severity of work addiction

Work addiction, similarly to any other physical or mental health condition may have different severity from mild to severe. In some grave cases immediate help from professionals is necessary and recommended, and it may require therapy (e.g., cognitive behavioral therapy) and/or serious life adjustments (e.g., changing work environment). In other cases some lifestyle changes and modifications (e.g., better sleep habits, diet, exercise and regular mindfulness practice) may considerably improve your functioning. 

Level of solutions

There are different solutions to work addiction depending on the perspective that we take on the problem.

Therapeutic interventions and lifestyle modifications are introduced at the individual level. That means that you yourself may undertake them.

On the other hand, your employer (or you, if you are an employer caring about your employees) may introduce some solutions on the level of organization (e.g., better work-life balance policies, work-organization that minimizes stress).

Finally, governments and international institutions may consider some recommendations in order to decrease the population levels of work addiction. These are highly warranted since work addiction is relatively prevalent in most countries, and the scale of the problem requires systemic and systematic prevention and solutions. Also, these are most often the same recommendations that would likely decrease other health problems and related social and economic costs due to the growing “pandemic” of occupational stress-related problems such as burnout and work-related depression.

Best solution

Macro-level governmental interventions aimed at improving working conditions, increasing stability of employment and socioeconomic security among wider populations may considerably decrease work-related stress and strain, and in consequence significantly reduce such wide-spread phenomena as burnout, work-related depression and work addiction, and their individual, social and economic costs. Also, employers who are able to provide healthy work environments meeting psychological needs of their employees and caring about their balanced development may reduce these risks substantially. 

However, work addiction is not solely caused by environmental factors in all cases. Similarly to other addictions, including substance use disorders and behavioral addictions, in minority of cases there are other important risk factors contributing to work addiction. These may include personality and other individual characteristics, and early life traumas which require more personal therapy and individually tailored help.

How our research may contribute to these solutions?

We already know that good working conditions and high socioeconomic security and stability are crucial for physical and mental health, as well as for sustainable development of individuals, organizations and countries. On the other hand, lack of such conditions not only contributes to immense human suffering and considerable portion of deaths worldwide, but also to enormous socioeconomic costs, many of which are currently unrecognized and unaddressed. The challenge is to understand how to create trajectories of development and changes towards widespread global introduction of proper solutions fostering healthy working and living conditions in all countries. 

Some of the aims of our studies include precise evaluation which macro-level, meso-level and micro-level factors contribute to work addiction most. On the other hand, we want to learn how work addiction contributes to individual, social and economic costs around the globe. Knowing which risk factors are most important, and investigating which are the most easily modifiable alongside with the estimation of the scope of negative consequences of work addiction will allow to design the best cost-effective prevention programs and other solutions.