(CNN)The difference between enthusiasm for work and addiction to it can sometimes be difficult to discern, especially when it’s so easy to take work home on a smart phone or laptop.
To find out how many people are true workaholics, researchers from the University of Bergen surveyed thousands of people in Norway using the Bergen Work Addiction Scale, which uses diagnostic criteria for several kinds of addiction.
What is workaholism?
The study found that 7.8% of people could be classed as workaholics.
While the findings highlight how addiction is not just limited to behaviors like drinking or gambling, it’s important to note that the study doesn’t link causes and effects, it’s just a sample of some of Norway’s population.
“It’s cross-sectional, that means that we don’t measure long term effects. We just cut into the cake and look what’s in there — so we can’t say anything about the causal effects,” says Andreassen.
“This is also an illustration that people with ADHD can be very creative, very talented, very intelligent, and actually take work to the extreme. And if you look at people in history with these kind of traits you will find them as business leaders, as artists, as scientists and so on.”
The research not only highlights some of the lesser known realities of addiction, it also gives people an opportunity to find out if their relationship to work is more than it seems, and perhaps seek treatment.