Losing Your Job to a Binge Eating Disorder? It Can Happen

You spend about half of your life at your job. It is a big part of your social interaction, and provides a platform to boost (or deflate) your self-esteem. To perform well at work you need to be alert, focused, have good energy and be well rested.

If you perform well, you can expect accolades, opportunities and promotions. If you perform poorly, well…we all know what the results can be.

So what does a binge eating disorder (BED) have to do with your job? Lots of people struggle with BEDs. Studies show as many as 2.6% of our adult population binge eat. Can it really put your job at risk? The answer is yes, and in more ways than you think.

Physical Effects of Binge Eating

Physically. Binge eating stresses the body, causing it to work harder to digest, detoxify and maintain balance in the body. To compound the issue, many BED sufferers binge on “comfort food” that lacks essential nutrients – ice cream, chips, sodas, candy.

Not only is the body working harder to process the food, sapping energy from the body that could be used for work, it is not extracting the vital nutrients it needs for mental acuity. Over time, BEDs can affect work performance.


Emotionally. Dr. B. Timothy Walsh, eating disorders specialist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University Medical Center, noted that when compared with equally overweight people who do not binge, binge eaters are more troubled by anxiety and depression.

BEDs can be cruel; they give an initial feeling of relieving stress and anxiety, only to later reveal themselves as significant contributors to the very thing – anxiety and depression ¬– which the eater believes he or she has been alleviating.

When you are depressed and anxiety-ridden, your work suffers. Over time, your BED can threaten your job. And losing your job can certainly add to existing anxiety and stress


Socially. Over time, many BED sufferers will gain weight. Their physical appearance will worsen, and their energy levels will diminish. They may become more irritable and sensitive to comments, looks and perceived slights. Confidence can wane and one can either withdraw or over-compensate for the effects of the BED. If this is you, you are not being “yourself”, and your friends and co-workers are noticing.

Most work places thrive on a cohesive and cordial working environment. If you have become more irritable, withdrawn, or volatile because of your BED, you can put pressure on your job due to a slackening and inconsistent work performance.

We don’t often think of a BED as something that can have professional implications. If you are struggling with a BED, consider getting treatment to regain your life before it affects more than your physical health. Your career, your family’s financial security and your self-esteem may depend on it.

Contributor: Dr. Gregory Jantz, Founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 30 books on behavioral and mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, binge eating, and others.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on October 1, 2017
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

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The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.