Ontological addiction theory (OAT) is a novel metaphysical model of psychopathology and posits that human beings are prone to forming implausible beliefs concerning the way they think they exist, and that these beliefs can become addictive leading to functional impairments and mental illness. The theoretical underpinnings of OAT derive from the Buddhist philosophical perspective that all phenomena, including the self, do not manifest inherently or independently.
Aims and methods
This paper outlines the theoretical foundations of OAT along with indicative supportive empirical evidence from studies evaluating meditation awareness training as well as studies investigating non-attachment, emptiness, compassion, and loving-kindness.
OAT provides a novel perspective on addiction, the factors that underlie mental illness, and how beliefs concerning selfhood are shaped and reified.
In addition to continuing to test the underlying assumptions of OAT, future empirical research needs to determine how ontological addiction fits with extant theories of self, reality, and suffering, as well with more established models of addiction.
Workaholism is a form of behavioral addiction that can lead to reduced life and job satisfaction, anxiety, depression, burnout, work–family conflict, and impaired productivity. Given the number of people affected, there is a need for more targeted workaholism treatments. Findings from previous case studies successfully utilizing second-generation mindfulness-based interventions (SG-MBIs) for treating behavioral addiction suggest that SG-MBIs may be suitable for treating workaholism. This study conducted a controlled trial to investigate the effects of an SG-MBI known as meditation awareness training (MAT) on workaholism.
Male and female adults suffering from workaholism (n = 73) were allocated to MAT or a waiting-list control group. Assessments were performed at pre-, post-, and 3-month follow-up phases.
MAT participants demonstrated significant and sustained improvements over control-group participants in workaholism symptomatology, job satisfaction, work engagement, work duration, and psychological distress. Furthermore, compared to the control group, MAT participants demonstrated a significant reduction in hours spent working but without a decline in job performance.
Discussion and conclusions
MAT may be a suitable intervention for treating workaholism. Further controlled intervention studies investigating the effects of SG-MBIs on workaholism are warranted.