As a financial advisor who specializes in working with families battling addiction, I am acutely aware of the shifts in behavior that accompany substance abuse. I have observed that in certain circumstances, entrepreneurs, specifically serial entrepreneurs display similar behaviors to those suffering from substance abuse disorder. According to a study in the Journal of Business Venturing Habitual entrepreneurship can actually be a behavioral addiction.
Here are 10 signs that an entrepreneur may be suffering from addictive behavior:
- Your family is neglected.
- You stop taking care of yourself.
- You start new projects without finishing others.
- Doing non-work-related things is frustrating to you.
- You feel like you can’t stop.
- You engage in desperate behaviors.
- You won’t listen to others.
- Your mood is affected by your work.
- You like starting businesses, but not running them.
- You keep going despite financial struggles.
Addicts are always the last person to recognize there is a problem. Families and loved ones come in a close second. A financial advisor with experience working with addictive behaviors would likely be your first line of defense.
The first step to recovering from any type of addiction is admitting you have a problem. In my experience, this is the most difficult step in the program. Because there is no stigma attached to success as there is with opioids and alcohol, the entrepreneur may resist getting help as he believes he is pursuing a noble cause.
Once the problem has been identified, boundaries must be defined and consequences clearly upheld. The purpose of setting boundaries is to identify the behaviors that has been difficult or hurtful to the family — and put a stop to it. While you can’t control your loved one’s actions, you can control how you respond to them.
Do not try to solve this problem alone
Support is critical. Workaholics Anonymous is available for anyone who needs help to stop working compulsively, making it a good choice for those with an entrepreneurship addiction.
Healthline also recommends getting a mental health assessment, because entrepreneurship addiction can be a result of underlying mental health problems like obsessive compulsive disorder.
Not every entrepreneur is addicted to work, as not everyone who has a drink is an alcoholic. But getting the help in time can make the difference between financial security and financial ruin.