In Charles Dicken's "A Christmas Carol" we are painted a picture of a work addict. We see Ebenezer Scrooge holed up in a dark and dank office, slaving away late into the night, with stacks of coins as his only company. Ensnared by his drive to succeed, Scrooge annexes himself from the rest of the world and devoted himself entirely to his employment. Having surrounded himself so tightly with his work, Scrooge is reduced to a man who can to nothing but scheme and plot for money.
The work addict may today not seem as disagreeable or void as Dicken's famous character, a shocking high percentage of workaholics today share a lot of the signs and symptoms as Scrooge.
Workaholism can have a number of negative effects on our life. It can lead to a reduction in relationships with others, as well as other problems related to the people in our lives. It can alienate those suffering from their friends and families, and can lead to a disruptive household and even, in extreme cases, break-ups and divorce. Often choosing to work instead of spending time with family, workaholics soon find themselves alone and bereft of meaningful interpersonal relationships.
Another problem with workaholism comes in the abstraction of boundaries between work and life. Often these individuals will bring work home with them, incapable of leaving their tasks in the office. They'll even go so far as to steer conversations with family and friends towards the problems of work, which can often have a negative impact on their ability to socialise.
In our ever more mobile world, workaholism is facilitate by the ever connected laptop and smart phone. We can be anywhere, doing anything, and still suffer the calls of employment even when we're trying to get away from it. And workaholics will take full advantage of this; a laptop or smart phone is merely a tool they can use to carry on working when they're away from work. And a constant preoccupation with work can often have a negative effect on the value of the work being done.
To put it short, workaholism is an addiction and - like any addiction - it can be dangerous. If you feel like you are a workaholic, or know someone who is, you should consult a psychiatrist or other medical professional. Whilst it may not lead to the problems assosiated with more detrimental addictions, it can lead to detrimental mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, personality disorder or the like.