Workaholics at a greater risk of depression, study finds

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If you are a workaholic, depression or a lack of sleep could be in the offing, according to a new study. 

The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health reports that workaholics — described as people with “a compulsion or an uncontrollable need to work incessantly” — are twice as likely to be depressed and have poorer sleep quality than normal employees. 

The international group of researchers examined the work habits of 187 French workers and found that people in jobs with strong demands were five times more likely to be prone to work addiction.

This high-risk group worked, on average, seven hours more per week than their low-risk counterparts, and were characterized by “excessive involvement of the individual in work when it is not required or expected.”

Workers at a high risk of work addiction were more than twice as likely to be depressed, while workers at a low risk of work addiction were actually more likely to show symptoms of anxiety. 

Researchers also found that “sleep quality was lower in workers with a high risk of work addiction compared with workers with a low risk of work addiction.”

The study could have implications for Americans, who are working longer hours amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a July study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Americans worked on average 48.5 minutes longer in the post-lockdown period than they did pre-pandemic. 

The longer hours spent working coincide with a nosedive in Americans’ mental health. Only 76% of Americans said their mental health was excellent or good in a Gallup poll last month, a 9-point decline from 2019. 

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