Executive Jobs and Eating Disorders

Executive Jobs and Eating DisordersThe main types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder. While anorexia is often associated with starvation and bulimia with purging, all eating disorders are defined by the fact that a person is so preoccupied with food and weight that he or she cannot focus on other things. Eating disorders can be life threatening and do cause serious physical problems, and they can seriously impact a person’s professional life.

Causes of Eating Disorders

According to the National Eating Disorders Association eating disorders may begin with preoccupations with food and weight, but they are often used in an attempt to compensate for overwhelming feelings and emotions. Being able to control what you eat initially gives a person with an eating disorder a sense of power, but these behaviors will damage a person’s physical and emotional health, self-esteem and sense of competence and control. Some factors that contribute to eating disorders include the following:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Feelings of inadequacy or lack of control in life
  • Depression, anxiety, anger or loneliness
  • Troubled family and personal relationships
  • Difficulty expressing emotions and feelings
  • History of being teased or ridiculed based on size or weight
  • History of physical or sexual abuse
  • Cultural pressures that glorify “thinness” and place value on obtaining the “perfect body”
  • Narrow definitions of beauty that include only women and men of specific body weights and shapes
  • Cultural norms that value people on the basis of physical appearance and not inner qualities and strengths
  • Genetic contributions

While being an executive does not have a direct correlation to having an eating disorder, high pressured executive positions can often be overwhelming. Many variables within an executive position are not directly in the control of the executive, and he or she may seek this control through disordered eating. Long hours, the mandate to succeed, and having a large amount of responsibility can result in a person feeling anxious or depressed, and these concerns can also lead to eating disorders. There may also be a demand to fit a certain image at work, as in the highly competitive marketplace of today’s business climate a first impression may be the deciding vote on whether a person gets an executive level job or seals a business deal.

Get Help for Eating Disorders

The sooner you get eating disorder help, the better. Our helpline is professional, confidential and a valuable resource for your or a loved one’s recovery. We want to help you find the right treatment program for you, and we can provide you with options, information about insurance and resources. We are here to help.