Difference Between Alcoholic and Workaholic

In the contemporary world, there is an enormous form of addiction. Loving something is a different thing, but getting an addiction to it can harm a person and other persons in its surroundings. Alcoholics and workaholics are two forms of addiction.  


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Most of the people in the world have come across the term alcoholic. Even WHO has highlighted about 140 million alcoholics around the world.

But workaholic is quite less talked about but occupy 10% of the working population in the US. So, alcoholics and workaholics are a form of addiction with a different concept. 

Alcoholic vs Workaholic 

The difference between the terms alcoholic and workaholic is that an alcoholic is someone who fails to stop drinking alcohol in large amounts. On the other hand, a workaholic is someone who loves to work and even does it too much. Alcoholic has a substantial influence on genetics, whereas the workaholic concept is yet to be asserted.  

Alcoholic vs Workaholic

The term alcoholic was coined by a Swedish physician, namely Magnus Huss in 1849. Repetitive and excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages at the extent level can lead to becoming an alcoholic.

In this case, the drinker harm himself and others repeatedly. The harm may be mental, physical, legal, economic, or social.  

The term workaholic was coined by the minister and psychologist, namely Wayne Oates in 1971. In a workaholic, the person has a compulsive desire to work.

Generally, an alcoholic person continually thinks about work and works for excessive hours. A workaholic person may be suffering from physical health and various psychiatric disorders. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAlcoholicWorkaholic
InterpretationIt refers to someone who fails to stop drinking alcohol in large amounts.It refers to someone who loves to work and even does it too much.
Coined byMagnus HussWayne Oates
Coined in18491971
Genetic influenceSubstantial influenceYet to be asserted
PrognosisPoorBetter than alcoholic

What is Alcoholic?

An alcoholic person suffers from a disorder in which the problem of drinking becomes severe. A person suffering from this condition fails to know how and when to stop drinking.

The body of an alcoholic person become eventually addicted or dependent on alcohol. As a result, alcohol becomes important in one’s life.  

The cause of becoming an alcoholic is still mysterious. Mainly when a person drinks in a large amount which affects the brain and causes chemical changes.

These changes increase the feelings to drink more alcohol, even if it causes harm. An alcoholic person tries to prevent withdrawal symptoms by engaging in more drinking.  

An alcoholic person shows symptoms in his behavior and physical outcomes. Some of the behavior changes are drinking alone, eating poorly, becoming violent, and neglecting personal hygiene.

Physical symptoms include alcohol cravings, tremors, and illness, and memory lapses. The method varies for the treatment of an alcoholic person, but each means to stop drinking together.

Treatment is as follows; detoxification to rid the body from alcohol, rehabilitation to learn a new behavior, and counseling to highlighted emotional problems. Medical treatment for alcohol use disorder and medications to control addiction also play a vital role. 


What is Workaholic?

A workaholic person suffers from real mental health but it is not recognized formally diagnosable disorder. This person develops emotional, social, and psychological dependence on work.

A workaholic person works for long hours even it is not needed and also sacrifices his sleep for work. A workaholic struggles to detach from work which leads to anxiety, high level of stress, depression, and sleep problems.

High cortisol levels and high blood pressure can be seen due to chronic stress. All these can put someone at great risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even death.  

If once a person recognizes this problem, then there are various ways to cope with it such as by making time for friends and family.

By doing scheduled activities after the over of the workday and setting a ‘stop time’ for work can help to cope with it. A workaholic person can also seek a counselor or therapist.  

Sometimes people fail to recognize if they are suffering from work addiction or it is just long hours of work that is a part of life. Because it is just someone’s job does not mean that they are addicted.

But it can be someone who struggles psychologically detach from work. 


Main Differences Between Alcoholic and Workaholic  

  1. There is a higher risk of becoming alcoholic if male drinks more than 15 times per week and female drinks more than 12 times per week, while a person is addicted to work and struggles to psychologically detach from work can make a workaholic.  
  2. The behavioral changes included in Alcoholics are abusing people, Binge drinking, lying, and anxiety. On the other hand, in workaholics it includes anger outbursts, withdrawal from social life, working for extra hours.  
  3. When it comes to health hazards, Alcoholics mainly suffer from heart diseases, liver problems, and gastrointestinal troubles. But the loss of appetite increased stress, and panic attacks are some of the health hazards of a workaholic.  
  4. To prevent being alcoholic there is no other option than limiting alcoholic intake two drinks per day is enough for men and one drink per day for women. By spending time with family and friends and setting a stop time for work can prevent workaholics.  
  5. Alcoholics can be treated through three stages, namely detoxification, rehabilitation, and maintenance. On the flip side, workaholics can be treated by different psychotherapeutic methods combination such as cognitive therapy. 
Difference Between Alcoholic and Workaholic


  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1987-98538-000
  2. https://iaap-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1464-0597.2011.00454.x

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