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Colloquially, a workaholic is a person who is addicted to work. There is no generally accepted medical definition of such a condition, although some forms of stress and obsessive-compulsive disorder can be work-related. Although the term "workaholic" usually has a negative connotation, it is sometimes used by people wishing to express their devotion to one's career in positive terms. The "work" in question is usually associated with a paying job, but it may also refer to independent pursuits such as sports, music, art, or blogging.
A "workaholic" in the negative sense is popularly characterized by a neglect of family and other social relations. The term has no clinical definition, however.
The name itself is a play on "alcoholic". It was first coined in 1971 by Wayne Oates in his book, Confessions of a Workaholic. It gained more widespread use in the 1990s, as the result of a wave of the self-help movement that centered on addiction, forming an analogy between harmful social behaviors such as over-work and drug addiction, including addiction to alcohol. Although "workaholic" is not an official medical or psychological term, it remains in widespread usage to refer to those whose expenditure of time on work and work-related issues leads to the detriment of their bodily health, social lives, family and domestic life, or leisure time.
Japan is often portrayed as having a workaholic culture. Several Japanese workers die each year from overwork. The Japanese term for death by overwork is karoshi. In cases where it can be proven that the cause of death was overwork, the family can seek compensation from the employer for its failure to intervene in the employee's self-destructive behavior.
- Workrave a software solution for "workaholic" behaviors
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