Executive Burnout: What is It and How do Execs Handle It?

executive burnout

Executive Burnout: What is It and How do Execs Handle It?

You’ve probably heard someone at some point say they were feeling “burned out,” meaning they’d worn themselves too thin. Furthermore, you may have even said it yourself. Burnout is a real concern for executives who are at risk for mental exhaustion from the stress they experience. Unfortunately, many managers who experience burnout begin to self-medicate. They rely on drugs or alcohol to calm their anxiety, improve their alertness, or enhance their performance at work. Self-medicating can put them at risk for dependence and addiction. If you or someone you know is experiencing executive burnout and self-medicating just to get through the day, call and speak to the substance abuse experts at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services.

Common Signs of Workplace Stress

The demanding and challenging environment that most business executives work in makes them more prone to work-related stress. While stress affects people in different ways, some tell-tale red flags may signal executive burnout. There are healthy ways administrators can deal with workplace stress. Some of these ways include exercising regularly, getting a good night’s sleep or taking up an enjoyable hobby. However, all too often, stressed execs turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with the pressure they are under to perform well at work. The following are some of the most common signs of executive burnout due to workplace stress:

  • Irritability and impatience at work
  • Depression or anxiety in the business environment
  • Lack of energy at work
  • Insomnia
  • Low self-esteem
  • Overeating or undereating
  • Frequent illness
  • Reliance on drugs or alcohol to make it through the day

Self-Medicating to Deal with Executive Burnout

Whether it’s cocaine to increase energy and mental alertness at work, alcohol to relax and unwind after a long day, or benzodiazepines to relieve anxiety, relying on substances to deal with work-related stress is a slippery slope. While cocaine, for example, may have short-term benefits regarding a temporary burst of energy and alertness, it is a highly addictive drug, and chronic use can lead to long-term health consequences, like decreased concentration, impaired memory, and diminished judgment and decision-making abilities. Business executives who deal with workplace stress by drinking alcohol may become reliant on increasing amounts of alcohol to deal with business problems and social situations, putting them at risk for alcoholism.

The Experts at BRS Rehab Can Help

The most dangerous thing about executive burnout and self-medicating with drugs or alcohol is that it can happen gradually, beginning with occasional indulgence and progressing to dependence, until drinking or doing drugs becomes the executive’s primary means of dealing with workplace stress. And it’s not just the executive who suffers the effects of executive burnout and the resulting alcohol or drug abuse. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “Employees who drink heavily or who abuse or are dependent on alcohol can undermine a workforce’s overall health and productivity,” resulting in problems like “impaired performance of job-related tasks, accidents or injuries, poor attendance, high employee turnover, and increased healthcare costs.” If an executive at your workplace appears to be suffering from burnout or addiction, call Behavioral Rehabilitation Services to find out how you can help.

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