"Workaholic" is a term that's thrown around pretty loosely these days. But even if you spend a lot of your time working and are especially devoted to your profession, you may not necessarily be a workaholic.
Workaholics find reasons to work, even if there's no need to -- their minds are constantly thinking about work and work-related things. Workaholism is a compulsive disorder, so an addict doesn't even necessarily have to like his or her job. In other words, if you're a workaholic, it's part of who you are, not a result of the job you have [source: Robinson].
Workaholism is an emotional issue, so it's not just about the number of hours you work; it's about your frame of mind and the chemical processes happening in your body that reinforce the behavior. Some workaholics get their high from the adrenaline released when they're stressed out [source: Robinson]. Others, however, might be performance addicts who are drawn to the praise and sense of accomplishment that comes with overworking.
Like any addiction, a work addiction can negatively affect other areas of your life, such as relationships with family and friends, and even physical health. One problem with being addicted to work is that other people -- bosses, co-workers or family members -- sometimes reinforce the behavior and even reward work addicts for being so focused and driven in their jobs. Society values a strong work ethic -- so much so that it can be difficult to notice when a person has become addicted.