Like alcoholism, workaholism is a disease of denial. What makes it doubly insidious is that unlike an alcoholic, a workaholic is likely to be admired, praised and rewarded for the symptoms of his or her addiction:
"You're a real go-getter."
"If you keep this up, you'll make CEO before you know it."
"I wish I had your ability to get things done."
"Why can't you be as successful [ambitious, smart, dedicated, hard-working] as your sister?"
If you answer "yes" to eight or more of the following 15 questions, there's a good chance that you're a workaholic:
* Do I frequently overcommit myself -- miss deadlines or work around the clock to meet them?
* Does my personal life seem peripheral to my professional one? Does it occupy more of my emotional energy? Do I look forward more to going to work than to coming home?
* Do I find it extremely difficult to delegate tasks or responsibilities? Does the idea that I can give up any of them make me feel scared?
* Am I either frantically busy, or too burned-out to function?
* Do I neglect my physical needs -- live on take-out food, work through lunch, refuse to find the time for check-ups and exercise?
* Do I also neglect my emotional needs? Am I never able to find time for myself? Have I let my friendships and personal relationships slide?
* Are there almost always things I haven't accomplished by the end of the day or week?
* Is it difficult for me to ask for or accept help?
* Do I nearly always seem to be rushing? Am I often late? Do I feel more comfortable when I'm rushing?
* Do tight deadlines and extra pressure make me feel important?
* Do my goals and accomplishments at work matter far more to me than my personal ones?
* Were my parents workaholics?
* Am I satisfied with my personal life, or do I feel that it's barren, out of control, or just not worth thinking about?
* Do I often resent the demands that my family and friends place on me? Do I often wish that I didn't have to think about them or interact with them, that I could just concentrate on my work?
* Finally, have my family and friends let me know that they're concerned, resentful and/or sad about the amount of time I spend away from them?
If you believe that you might be a workaholic, help is available; just call your local mental health center and ask about qualified counselors and support groups for people who wish to conquer this health-destroying addiction.