If you live to work it means you have an addiction. But don’t worry, it can be treated.
Bucharest, 20th August 2012: Talking about discovering and healing new diseases, scientists from Northern Europe are taking icebreaking steps in tracing a new field of study: workaholism – the disease of the 21st Century. The Scandinavian Journal of Psychology published a research about the Bergen Work Addiction Scale (BWAS), which has been developed to help identify people who take their passion for work a little bit too serious. The study was brought up to the attention of the Romanian media by MediHelp International, distribution manager of BUPA International.
Dr. Jenny Leeser, Clinical Director of Occupational Health for Bupa Health and Wellbeing, commented: “Although there are other questionnaires and scales available that test whether or not someone is a workaholic, the BWAS is being hailed as a first because it looks at workaholism as a form of addiction. Traditional tests for workaholism have focused on the way a person behaves, for example, working long hours and working more than is expected of them. Depending on your viewpoint, this could be seen as either a positive or negative thing.”
Researchers believe that workaholics can have more health problems than non-workaholics. For example, work-related stress can cause psychological, emotional, physical and behavioural problemssuch as burnout – implying “emotional exhaustion”, ‘’depersonalisation’’ (negative, insensitive attributes to clients) – obsessive-compulsive behaviour, borderline personality disorder oran unbalanced functioning of the Pyneal, Pituitary, Thyroid or other endocrine glands. Once the testing method is perfected, it may be a useful tool for identifying people at risk so employers can step in and help before workaholism becomes a problem.
‘’Everyone should create a clear priorities list in life. Health is for sure the most important thing and should be protected against the stresses and strains of the modern life. A private health insurance is a tool that helps modern man have the certainty of the best medical care available, allowing people to enjoy their free time and not spend it worrying”, comments Zahal Levy, President of MediHelp International.
The test consists of seven questions relating to a person's work or job, using a scale from 1 to 5. Each question draws on one of the seven core elements of addiction:
· salience (the activity controls thinking and behaviour),
· mood modification (the activity changes or improves mood),
· tolerance (more and more activity is needed to achieve initial effects),
· withdrawal (feeling unpleasant if the activity is suddenly stopped or reduced),
· conflict (the activity causes conflict in social relationships and other activities),
· relapse (a return to the same activity habits after a period of abstinence),
· health and/or other problems.
BWAS proved more effective than other appraisals used to test workaholism by the large number of respondents – nearly 12,000 people – via an internet survey after watching a TV broadcast about workaholism, and a further 368 people who filled in a longer survey about working life.