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Business Owner Mental Health

The latest science. The latest news. The latest strategies & techniques to overcome mental health obstacles.

Entrepreneurship & Mental Health Resources

Common Mental Health Obstacles Entrepreneurs Face - Depression, Anxiety, and More

Real Entrepreneur's Stories About Mental Health

Latest News On Mental Health & Entrepreneurship

Scientific Research About Business Owners & Mental Health

Strategies To Help Overcome Mental Health

Business Resources To Decrease Stress In Your Life

Mental Illness For Entrepreneurs

Eating Disorders

Substance Abuse

Personality Disorders

Bipolar Disorder

Depression

Depression Stats For Entrepreneurs:

1 and 3 entrepreneurs experience depression, according to Dr. Michael Freeman

How does this compare to the average American? Well, only 7.1% of Americans experience depression.

That’s over 3x greater than the national average.

What is Depression?

Entrepreneurial depression is the same depression that non-entrepreneurs face. According to Psychiatry.org, it’s a “common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act.” 

Here are some of the common symptoms of depression:

  • Not being able to sleep
  • A feeling of sadness or eptiness
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of concentration
  • Hopelessness
  • Digestive problems
  • And more

Overcoming The Mind Episodes That Talk About Depression:

Ways Other Entrepreneurs Have Overcome Depression:

Entrepreneurs have successfully dealt with depression through a couple of different strategies. 

Learn more by going to our Depression & Entrepreneurship resource page. 

Anxiety

Anxiety Stats For Entrepreneurs:

The Gallups-Healthways Well-Being Index found that 34% of entrepreneurs experienced “worry” (could be considered anxiety).

How does that compare to the national average?

According to the Anxiety And Depression Association of America, 18.1% of Americans experience anxiety.

 

What is Anxiety?

Entrepreneurial anxiety is the same anxiety that non-entrepreneurs face. But, they are likely anxious about different things.

According to MedicalNews.com, anxiety is “a normal emotion that causes increased alertness, fear, and physical signs, such as a rapid heart rate.” 

So, what are entrepreneurs anxious about?

Here are some common founder anxieties:

  • Not failing
  • Payroll
  • Investors
  • Partner Issues & Problems
  • Managing Employees
  • Taxes
  • And Much, Much More

What are the symptoms of anxiety?

Here are common symptoms of anxiety:

  • Heart rate goes up
  • Trouble breathing
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of concentration
  • Inability to sleep (especially fall asleep)

Overcoming The Mind Episodes That Talk About Anxiety:

Ways Other Entrepreneurs Have Overcome Anxiety:

Entrepreneurs have successfully dealt with anxiety through a couple of different strategies. 

Learn more by going to our Anxiety & Entrepreneurship resource page. 

ADHD

ADHD Stats For Entrepreneurs:

After looking across the internet and into research papers, I could not find any statistical data that share what percentage of  entrepreneurs experience ADHD.

But, it’s interesting that ADHD is often referred to as the “Entrepreneur Trait.”

How does this compare to the average person? Well, about 7.2% of children worldwide have ADHD and about 3.4% of adults worldwide have ADHD.

Since people claim that ADHD is the “Entrepreneur Trait,” I feel like it would be fair to assume that a higher percentage of entrepreneurial adults experience ADHD than the average. This is not backed by any data. But, again, if research did get published on the topic, I think it would agree with my assumption.

What is ADHD?

Entrepreneurial ADHD is the same ADHD that non-entrepreneurs face. And, as mentioned above, it might actually be used to the entrepreneur’s advantage.

ADHD usually affects more children than it does adults. Often, symptoms of ADHD are reduced or go into full remission by the age of 25. 

According to KidsHealth.org, ADHD “stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is a medical condition. A person with ADHD has differences in brain development and brain activity that affect attention, the ability to sit still, and self-control.”

What are the symptoms of ADHD?

Mayo Clinic shares a couple of symptoms of ADHD:

  • Impulsive
  • Disorganized
  • Trouble prioritizing things
  • Lack of good time management
  • Inability to fully focus on tasks
  • Has trouble multi-tasking
  • Hyperactive
  • And More

Overcoming The Mind Episodes That Talk About ADHD:

Ways Other Entrepreneurs Have Overcome ADHD:

It might not be necessary to overcome ADHD as an entrepreneur. According to recent research, having ADHD might actually be advantageous to being an entrepreneur. It’s something that you can use to your advantage. 

But, there are some things that have helped entrepreneurs with their ADHD.

Learn more by going to our ADHD & Entrepreneurship resource page. 

PTSD

PTSD Stats For Entrepreneurs:

After searching through different data sources, it appears that there’s no conclusive statistics about what percentage of entrepreneurs experience PTSD.

What percentage of the entire population experience PTSD at some point in their lives? According to the US Government, between 7% and 8% of the entire population will experience PTSD at some point in their lives.

So, we can assume that entrepreneurs mirror the historical average. With that being said, we can assume that between 7% and 8% of entrepreneurs have experienced PTSD at some point. 

 

What is PTSD?

Entrepreneurial PTSD is the same PTSD that non-entrepreneurs face. Since entrepreneurs are under more stress and anxiety (according to recent data), there’s a chance that PTSD symptoms could be exacerbated. 

So, what is PTSD?

PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. But, there’s a shift and more and more professionals are calling it PTSI, or Post Traumatic Stress Injury.

It’s  “a disorder in which a person has difficulty recovering after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event,” according to The PTSD Alliance.

What are common symptoms of PTSD?

According to WebMD, here are some common symptoms:

  • Memories
  • Avoidance
  • Mood Swings
  • And Behavior Changes

 

Overcoming The Mind Episodes That Talk About PTSD:

Ways Other Entrepreneurs Have Overcome PTSD:

Entrepreneurs have successfully dealt with PTSD through a couple of different strategies. 

Learn more by going to our PTSD & Entrepreneurship resource page. 

Eating Disorders

Eating Disorder Stats For Entrepreneurs:

Entrepreneurs are notorious for skipping meals. I’ve worked with a handful of entrepreneurs who rarely eat.

But, what do the statistics have to say? Right now, there is no clear data stating what percentage of entrepreneurs experience eating disorders?

With that being said, what percentage of the average American population faces eating disorder challenges?

According to the ANAD, about 10.7% of all Americans experience eating disorders, with a much higher percentage occurring in women and transgender people. 

So, do entrepreneurs experience more eating disorder challenges? The data isn’t published yet. We’ll have to wait.

What are Eating Disorders?

Entrepreneurial eating disorders are the same that non-entrepreneurs face. While I don’t have any data to back this up, I feel like a higher percentage of entrepreneurs simply forget about meals or skip meals due to their busy, stressful schedules. Again, I don’t have data to back this up. But, I wouldn’t be surprised.

So, what are eating disorders?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, eating disorders are:

“…Actually serious and often fatal illnesses that are associated with severe disturbances in people’s eating behaviors and related thoughts and emotions”.

What are common symptoms of eating disorders?

NationalEatingDisorders.org shares some symptoms:

  • Refusal to eat certain foods 
  • Often is uncomfortable eating in front of others
  • Food rituals like only eating certain foods first or taking a certain number of bites
  • Skipping meals
  • And more

Overcoming The Mind Episodes That Talk About Eating Disorder:

Ways Other Entrepreneurs Have Overcome Eating Disorder:

Entrepreneurs have successfully dealt with eating disorders through a couple of different strategies. 

Learn more by going to our Eating Disorders & Entrepreneurship resource page. 

Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse Stats For Entrepreneurs:

I was able to find some conflicting data.

One piece of information said that entrepreneurs are 3x more likely to deal with substance abuse than non-entrepreneurs.

The other data said something a little different:

They found that 4.3% of entrepreneurs are currently addicted to drugs or have dealt with substance abuse in the past.

How does this compare to the non-entrepreneurs in the study? And how does that compare to the national average?

Of the non-entrepreneurs in the study, 3.9% of them are currently addicted to drugs or have dealt with substance abuse in the past.

So, there’s a small increase in entrepreneurs vs. non-entrepreneurs. But, nothing with real statistical significance.

What is Substance Abuse?

WebMD has an interesting definition of substance abuse. 

Here it is:

“Substance abuse is when you take drugs that are not legal. It’s also when you use alcohol, prescription medicine, and other legal substances too much or in the wrong way.”

First, I think this definition is flawed. There are certain illegal drugs that have promising implications for people with mental health. For example, some psychedelics like mushrooms and LSD, when taken in a controlled environment under medical supervision, can yield positive outcomes. The same goes for marijuana. 

For the sake of understanding substance abuse when it comes to entrepreneurs, we’ll assume that substance abuse is when you use alcohol or drugs too much or in the wrong way. 

Overcoming The Mind Episodes That Talk About Substance Abuse:

Ways Other Entrepreneurs Have Overcome Substance Abuse:

Entrepreneurs have successfully dealt with substance abuse through a couple of different strategies. 

Learn more by going to our Substance Abuse & Entrepreneurship resource page. 

Personality Disorders

Personality Disorder Stats For Entrepreneurs:

Dr Hokemeyer states that:

“In my clinical practice, I see percentages in the range of 80% of entrepreneurs who struggle with a host of personality disorders such as narcissism, sudden wealth syndrome and the impostor syndrome.”

That’s a really high percentage. 80%. 

But, this is not currently backed by any scientific research that confirms this information. It’s more anecdotal than anything else. 

While this is the case, it would not be surprising to hear scientific research support that entrepreneurs are more likely to have a personality disorder than non-entrepreneurs. 

What are Personality Disorders?

A personality disorder is:

“A type of mental disorder in which you have a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking, functioning and behaving. A person with a personality disorder has trouble perceiving and relating to situations and people.”

Do entrepreneurs suffer from different personality disorders than non-entrepreneurs?

Based on the current data, entrepreneurs deal with the same personality disorders that non-entrepreneurs face. But, there’s a chance that entrepreneurs experience these at a higher rate than non-entrepreneurs. 

What are the common personality disorders?

Here’s a short list of the most common ones:

  • Paranoid personality disorder
  • Schizoid personality disorder
  • Schizotypal personality disorder
  • Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD)
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Histrionic personality disorder
  • Narcissistic personality disorder
  • Avoidant (or anxious) personality disorder
  • Dependent personality disorder
  • Obsessive compulsive personality disorder (OCDP)

 

Overcoming The Mind Episodes That Talk About Personality Disorder:

Ways Other Entrepreneurs Have Overcome Personality Disorder:

Entrepreneurs have successfully dealt with substance abuse through a couple of different strategies. 

Learn more by going to our Personality Disorder & Entrepreneurship resource page. 

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder Stats For Entrepreneurs:

There are plenty of research studies going on that looking at bipolar disorder and entrepreneurship.

Why?

Well, people with bipolar disorder tend to be very, very ambitious and goal-oriented. And, those traits align with many of the qualities that entrepreneurs have.

So, what are the stats?

Well, according to recent research, about 11% of entrepreneurs experience bipolar disorder. 

How does that compare to the non-entrepreneur population?

Well, it’s way higher than the non-entrepreneur population. In that community, only about 2.8% of adults experience bipolar disorder. 

So, according to this data, entrepreneurs are almost 4x more likely to have bipolar disorder than non-entrepreneurs. 

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, also sometimes referred to as manic-depressive illness, is:

“A brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.”

Here’s a simplified definition:

It’s basically severe mood swings that happen more frequently and at higher intensities than the average person might experience. You go from the highs of mania to the lows of depression. And then, the cycle continues. 

What are the symptoms?

Here are some of the symptoms:

  • Feeling unusually “high” and optimistic or extremely irritable
  • Unrealistic, grandiose beliefs about one’s abilities or powers
  • Sleeping very little, but feeling extremely energetic
  • Feeling hopeless, sad, or empty
  • Irritability
  • Inability to experience pleasure
  • And more

Overcoming The Mind Episodes That Talk About Bipolar Disorder:

Ways Other Entrepreneurs Have Overcome Bipolar Disorder:

Entrepreneurs have successfully dealt with substance abuse through a couple of different strategies. 

Learn more by going to our Bipolar Disorder & Entrepreneurship resource page. 

Stress

Stress Stats For Entrepreneurs:

Entrepreneurs have the longest working hours of any occupation. Period. End of story. 

And that’s only part of the stress.

Entrepreneurs are under serious stress, which can affect their business, their relationships (both personal and business), and their general health. 

So, what are the stats?

Well, data has shown that 45% of entrepreneurs report being stressed compared to 42% of non-entrepreneurs.

Not a huge difference.

Is the data wrong? Is that right?

The data might not tell the whole story.

Stress is a very subjective thing. Were those 45% of entrepreneurs under WAY more stress than the non-entrepreneurs? What is stress in the first place? How does a study like this measure stress?

If another study came out that said that entrepreneurs were more likely to experience stress than non-entrepreneurs, I’d believe it. 

What is Stress?

Here’s the definition of stress, according to Cleveland Clinic:

“Stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses. … Even positive life changes such as a promotion, a mortgage, or the birth of a child produce stress.”

Based on that definition, EVERYBODY is experiencing stress ALL the time. If you go outside into cold weather, your body is under stress. If you become dehydrated, that’s stress. If a client starts complaining, that’s probably going to induce mental stress.

Do entrepreneurs experience different stress than non-entrepreneurs? 

Definitely. Entrepreneurs simply have different experiences than non-entrepreneurs. But, based on data, entrepreneurs have more work-related stress than non-entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs also have, on average, the longest working hours of any career. And, with that much work, they’re probably not exercising enough and their relationships might be more at risk. 

Overcoming The Mind Episodes That Talk About Stress:

Ways Other Entrepreneurs Have Overcome Stress:

Entrepreneurs have successfully dealt with substance abuse through a couple of different strategies. 

Learn more by going to our Stress & Entrepreneurship resource page. 

Entrepreneurs With Mental Health Obstacles

Here's a list of entrepreneurs who have shared their story of mental illness:

I won’t be able to go into the details of every entrepreneur’s story here.

To read more, you can click on the link next to their names.

Why does this list exist?
It’s to let you know that you’re not alone. There are other people just like you. And, a lot of these entrepreneurs have been able to overcome or reduce their mental health struggles. They’re stories of hope. 

News About Mental Health & Business Owners

Check out our most recent articles about the latest news about entrepreneurship & mental health:

Scientific Research About Mental Health & Entrepreneurship

What do 14 scientific papers have to say about mental health & entrepreneurship?

1. Mental health obstacles might actually be an advantage for entrepreneurs:

Dr. Johan Wiklund wrote a paper called ” Mental Disorders in the Entrepreneurship Context: When Being Different Can Be An Advantage.”

What does this paper have to say about how mental health obstacles can actually be an advantage to entrepreneurs?

“Entrepreneurship is predicated on one’s ability to identify opportunities that others cannot, which highlights the importance of entrepreneurs’ being different. The extent to which mental disorders provide unique abilities and perspectives that are particularly valuable in entrepreneurship remains an open question, but there are indications that certain mental disorders are over-represented among highly successful entrepreneurs.”

 

2. Working Remotely In The Woods Every Once In a While Might Be Good

Hanne Vesala wrote a paper called “Slowing work down by teleworking periodically in rural settings.”

What does this paper have to say about increasing mental health by working remotely from a rural environment every so often?

“Our results indicate that during a telework period in an alternative work environment, rural and natural settings, the strain experienced by the participants at work decreased notably.”

3. Entrepreneurs might be wired for risk, achievement, innovation, and control of their time & work

Robert Baum wrote a paper called “Born to Be an Entrepreneur? Revisiting the Personality Approach to Entrepreneurship”

What does this paper say about the personality traits of entrepreneurs?

“Business owners as compared to other populations are higher in need for achievement, risk-propensity, innovativeness, and internal locus of control”

4. Your ability to "detach" from work might determine to your overall health

Toon Taris wrote a paper called “All day and all of the night: The relative contribution of two dimensions of workaholism to well-being in self-employed workers.”

What does this paper say about workaholism and how it might affect an entrepreneurs health?

“We found that especially the inability to detach from work (i.e., the psychological component of the workaholic syndrome) was a potent predictor of health and well-being. The self-employed individuals who found it difficult to detach from work experienced higher levels of exhaustion and physical complaints and lower levels of efficacy than others did.”

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Strategies To Overcome Mental Health Obstacles

I've talked to dozens of business owners. Here are the top 10 strategies they use:

1. Perspective:
2. Some Type of Therapy:
3. Physical Exercise:
4. Morning Routine:
5. Meditation/Mindfulness:
6. Setting Expectations (Home & Business):
7. Taking Time Off:
8. Putting Relationships First:
9. Compartmentalizing:
10. Getting Enough Sleep:

Business Resources To Reduce Stress

Here are resources to save time & increase revenue to make your life easier:

If you need help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or go to www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org