Leisure sickness

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Leisure Sickness, similar to Paradise Syndrome, is the name given to a purported psychological condition, not universally recognized by psychologists, by which some people (typically characterized as workaholics) are more likely to report feeling ill during weekends and vacations than when working.[1] The syndrome is similar to Paradise Syndrome, in which the patient suffers a feeling of dissatisfaction despite having achieved all their dreams.[2]


This phrase was coined by Dutch psychologists Ad Vingerhoets and Maaike van Huijgevoort, who presented a paper titled "Leisure sickness: An explorative study" at a meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society on March 7, 2001. Symptoms include headaches (even migraines), fatigue, muscular aches and pains, and illnesses such as colds and flus. Sufferers (and for about 3% of the population, this occurs every weekend), typically have, according to the authors, an "inability to transition from the work to the non-work environment, a high need for achievement and a high sense of responsibility."[3]

Medical history[edit]

Ad Vingerhoets, associate professor of clinical health Psychology at Tilbury University in the Netherlands, has found that this problem is caused by stress and a difficulty to switch from work to leisure activities.[4]

Ester Sternberg, a researcher of neuroendocrine immunology at the National Institutes of Health, blames this condition on hormones and stress as they affect the nervous system and immune system.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-12-20. Retrieved 2008-12-21.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Johnson, Luke (2004-10-17). "What's Paradise for a plutocrat?". Telegraph. Retrieved 2011-10-01.
  3. ^ Paul McFedries (2003-05-07). "leisure sickness". Word Spy. Retrieved 2011-10-01.
  4. ^ a b Minnema, Lindsay. "Downtime: It's Enough to Make Some People Sick". Washington Post Staff Writer. The Washington Post. Retrieved 1 October 2011.