Workaholics are far more likely to be dealing with four specific psychiatric disorders, a large scientific study conducted among thousands of Norwegian workers has found. 

The study published in the open access journal Plos One relied on data from 16,426 working adults and found workaholics had significantly higher rates of ADHD, OCD, anxiety and depression.

To break it down, workaholics reported more than double the rate of ADHD than non-workaholics, almost triple the rate of OCD and anxiety and more than the triple the rate of depression.

The study does not determine a causal relationship between workaholism and these disorders, so we can't say that workaholism leads to depression or anxiety or vice versa.

"Taking work to the extreme may be a sign of deeper psychological or emotional issues. Whether this reflects overlapping genetic vulnerabilities, disorders leading to workaholism or, conversely, workaholism causing such disorders, remain uncertain," says lead author and clinical psychologist specialist Cecilie Schou Andreassen at the University of Bergen in Norway. 

The research found 7.8 percent of workers classified as workaholics, as determined by how often they reported having the following experiences over the course of the past year:

  • You think of how you can free up more time to work.
  • You spend much more time working than initially intended.
  • You work in order to reduce feelings of guilt, anxiety, helplessness or depression.
  • You have been told by others to cut down on work without listening to them.
  • You become stressed if you are prohibited from working.
  • You deprioritize hobbies, leisure activities, and/or exercise because of your work.
  • You work so much that it has negatively influenced your health.

Those that report to the above occurring "often" or "always" on four or more criteria identify as a workaholic.