A psychiatrist warns that highly paid professionals are often too busy to seek medical help Hong Kong's high-income professionals pay a high price in the level of stress they suffer compared with lower earners, according to a new survey. And a psychiatrist warned that they often did not seek medical help because of their hectic work schedules. The survey by the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at the Chinese University found that work and financial pressure were the biggest causes of stress among respondents, scoring 6.26 and 5.26 points respectively on a 10-point scale. Family matters scored 4.62 points and interpersonal relations 3.85. The survey's 758 respondents were asked to rate their own sources of daily stress on March 8 and 9. Timothy Wong Ka-ying, who conducted the research, said that while the survey showed that men and women suffered similar stress at work, people in their 30s and 40s generally faced more pressure at work than other age groups. The survey has also found that professionals and senior management staff faced the most work pressure, scoring 6.93 points. Clerical staff and sales and marketing executives registered 5.96 points, while blue-collar workers registered 5.81 points. Although professionals with monthly salaries of more than $30,000 suffered less financial pressure, they faced higher work pressure - 6.84 points, compared to 5.92 for those earning less. Chan Kwok-tung, a psychiatrist at the Kowloon Hospital, said Hong Kong people generally faced more pressure than people in western countries. Dr Chan said stress, if ignored, could turn into disorders such as insomnia, digestive problems and stomach ulcers. 'Sometimes we get referral cases of patients suffering from a headache or some digestive problem for a long time without knowing the causes. It could be that the disorder is stress-driven because there is a mind-body connection,' he said. 'When a person cannot channel excess stress, the body sends a message such as a loss in appetite, sleeping disorders or a decline in immunity.' Dr Chan - who himself suffers mild stress-related disorders and is on medication - said housewives and retirees were more likely to seek medical treatment than highly paid professionals. 'Housewives and retirees do not express feelings so well and very often they develop disorder symptoms. If the stress has not surfaced as an emotional problem, it turns into a physical one,' he said. Dr Chan said many professionals were too busy to relax, let alone seek medical help. Solicitor Wong Kwok-tung, who sees himself as a typical middle-class professional, agreed. To him, work and financial pressures were like a see-saw. He said: 'When you have less pressure at work, you will have more financial pressure because your income decreases. A lot of my friends work and work until they burn out. You are either accountable to your boss or your employees. I can't stop. I can't slow down. I work and read documents until I can't carry on.'