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A Workaholic Could Be A Person In Need Of Help
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A Workaholic Could Be A Person In Need Of Help

What lies behind the working addiction of a workaholic? We could easily say that is not money, because most workaholics keep on working when they are earning enough money to live very well, so there should be another powerful reason for them to keep doing their work until very late at night forgetting about their own family, friends and even the joy of living for the sake of keep working until getting almost exhausted.

We all would agree in that performing our work well and working a reasonable time is very advisable. But some persons seem to ignore this basic fact and they keep working much further than any reasonable limit. Such a behavior could be counter-productive, because it raises doubts about the person’s productivity, because this behavioral scheme suggests that the person is not capable of completing a job in a reasonable amount of time. This is a harmful scheme, because the worker may think he/she is enhancing confidence on them, but instead of it, they could get into troubles without realizing it.

In research for finding the causes of this behavior, some results show that most workaholics are depressive persons who have discovered some way to avoid feeling down. It seems that by working very hard they are avoiding feelings of sadness, as if intense activity was the cure or the remedy to the feelings of emptiness or desperation that come as long as they stop working and the fatigue caused by their activity diminishes. Then they need another dose of intense activity. They are trapped into a vicious circle without knowing it.

A question arises with respect to a workaholic behavior: is a workaholic an addict to work or maybe is an addict to a different thing? The secret behind this behavior is that they are doing an activity they enjoy, so their brain is producing some substance which makes their sadness to disappear.

Or maybe they are not really enjoying what they are doing, but as long as they carry out an intense activity they feel their distressing feelings disappear, and THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE ENJOYING. When it is very late, they can stop working, come back home quickly, get some dinner, take a shower and get into bed, all this as quick as they can. Then they can get asleep before the levels of that substance drop to a level at which they would feel down again. That is the reason why a workaholic stays at their workplace until it is very late. In this case a workaholic is a sad person who has discovered a way to avoid feeling down.

The fundamental reason why they behave that way is this: as a by-product of a strenuous activity the brain produces SEROTONIN, a neurotransmitter which triggers ENDORPHINS production, the substances that produce feelings of pleasure and well-being. This is why a person feels well after doing an intense session of exercising, aerobics, jogging, etc. By working very hard their brain produces enough serotonin to feel well. A workaholic is doing the same thing that a person taking Prozac, Sarafem or Fontex as a treatment to a depressive condition. But those levels of serotonin could be obtained not just by working until getting exhausted, but by performing any other intense physical activity.

By doing other activities a person tormented by this condition would get the same results they acquire by working very hard. And there's more. Other way to raise levels of serotonin into the brain is by consuming food containing tryptophan, the substance used by the brain to synthesize serotonin. (You can't consume serotonin directly because it doesn't pass through the hemato-encephalic barrier, so it never reaches your brain).

If you want to help a workaholic or if you are one of them, it would be very useful to analyze the situation, looking for the real, basic cause, which could be the sequel of a traumatic event. In that case some depression treatment will work well. Sometimes a workaholic is suffering from a broken heart condition due to a sentimental trouble, in that case he/she needs advice on getting their beloved person back.

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