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The Bergen Work Addiction Scale

It is good to be dedicated to your work—you did not go through years of college and/or training to let all of that hard work go to waste. However, there is a whole life that exists outside of work that you need to consider, as well. By learning how the Bergen Work Addiction Scale works, you will know whether or not you have a work addiction and if you need to seek treatment for it.

Rating Your Work Addiction – Point One and Two

This scale is rated based on seven criteria with answers being either “never,” “rarely,” “sometimes,” “often,” or “always.” The first point is thinking you can free up more time to work. Maybe family members have asked to get together with you, but you would rather focus on your projects or keeping your time free in case you get emails from other co-workers or your boss. All of the fun events or family gatherings you would normally go to just are not important to you compared to your career. The second point is when you spend too much time working than you originally intended. You probably meant to finish your work on time so you could be with your loved ones, but you know that you have a project that still needs to be done and you cannot focus on anything else until it’s complete.

Rating Your Work Addiction – Point Three and Four

The third point is working in order to reduce feelings of guilt, anxiety, helplessness, and depression. Work seems like a good distraction to help you get away from those feelings. While it may work to distract you, it will not make those feelings go away. It will just push you to keep working harder to avoid these feelings. The fourth point is being told to cut down on work, but you do not listen. You are constantly stressing how important your work is and that it cannot be pushed aside for anything. You have probably accused others of not being understanding.

Rating Your Work Addiction – Points Five Through Seven

The fifth point is that if you have been told by someone to stop working, it will just stress you out even more. Your mind is constantly on work and you feel like it is calling you to focus solely on that. It is no different than being addicted to drugs and someone makes you quit cold turkey. You will feel withdrawal symptoms, including a rise in your anxiety levels. A sixth point is that your priorities, exercise, and leisure activities are de-prioritized because work is at the top. You may have used to enjoy your hobbies or having fun, but you feel those activities must be put on hold to continue on with your work. Even something important like exercising is set aside, which can be bad for your health, especially if you have a job that requires long periods of sitting. The seventh and final point is that all of the work you are doing is affecting your health, but you cannot find it in yourself to stop. This is what separates addiction from a fondness of something—an addiction is when something is destroying your health, but you cannot stop despite the negative consequences.

The Problem

We may joke about someone of being a workaholic, but being a true workaholic is a painful tragedy. If you have answered “often” or “always” to at least four of the seven criteria, you have a work addiction. The main difference between being a workaholic and a hard worker is the negative consequences. A workaholic suffers from poor health, feelings of guilt when they are not working, and increased stress levels. Being a workaholic is much more severe than being a hard worker. Hard-working people typically do not deal with the consequences that workaholics have, as they can live a life outside of work. If your work addiction is not addressed, this can harm your personal and financial life. You may appear strong to others in being dedicated to your work, but you are suffering inside.


The first thing you can do is to establish boundaries. If you are a manager, try to make sure everyone works a 40-hour week, including yourself. Worry more about the results than about the duration of your shift. You should also take a digital detox where you are offline from smartphones, tablets, and computers for a certain period of time. You can download apps like Flipd, Space, or Offline to help you lock your device during certain hours of the day.


It will be hard for you to do your work if you are so absorbed in it that you forget to take care of yourself. Remember to bathe yourself, eat at every mealtime, and sleep seven to eight hours a day. You can also try mindfulness when you have a few minutes to yourself by doing breathing exercises or yoga. You can also create or participate in wellness challenges or walking meets to help you exercise.


The U.S. Travel Association says that more than half of Americans leave their vacation time unused. Take some time for yourself and unplug. That way, you can return feeling happier and energized. By being in control of your work addiction, you can still keep your career but still have a life outside of the office.

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress-reducing techniques centered around a 12-step network, you will ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us today at 833-801-LIVE. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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