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Founder’s Mental Health in Hong Kong: Addiction as a Coping Mechanism

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Hong Kong is one of the most career-nourishing regions in the world. Their work culture is a mix of western and eastern values making them it diverse pool of potential. Their economy did suffer during the pandemic but the foundation that had been cultivated over the decades has built a solid base for recovery.

Entrepreneurs in Hong Kong


There is no shortage of entrepreneurship spirit in Hong Kong. They have succeeded in creating an economic landscape where uprising businesses and technological advancement ideas gather. Undertaking a start-up has always been an attractive path because of the success benefits. It does, though, come with risks.

According to studies, entrepreneurs are twice more likely to develop a mental health disorder. These higher figures stem from various factors including the stressful environment and the pressure of succeeding.

Addiction is an example of this complex brain disorder that is more common in entrepreneurs. It usually comes into existence as a form of coping mechanism.

Coping Mechanisms

What are coping mechanisms? They are habits formed over time as a person undergoes pressure, stress, or similar negative events in their lives to alleviate the negative emotions they are feeling. There are many types of coping mechanisms and one of the most impairing ones is addiction.

Individual coping mechanisms can vary depending on personal tendencies. While there are healthy coping mechanisms, there are also very damaging unhealthy ones.


coping mechanism

Addiction is a compulsion to abuse certain substances or activities to get away from reality that produces negative emotions. Addiction is extremely harmful and always causes more problems than what it was intended to solve.

Entrepreneurs are known to be solutions-oriented but they are not perfect. They can miss the opportunity to overcome a certain situation by choosing an easy but temporary relief that they fail to see the need for a difficult but permanent one.

For not wanting to give up the road to success, they sometimes repress the symptoms instead of actually fixing the cause of the problem.

Entrepreneurs are more exposed to the possibility of addictions since they can have the financial capacity to indulge themselves in excessive spending while masking it as a stress reliever or reward for their hard work.

Different Types

There are types of addiction that do not sit well with start-up founders since they impede their financial goals. Examples of these are shopping and gambling.

Two common types of addictions that appear among entrepreneurs are alcohol addiction and work addiction.

Alcohol Addiction

Business founders are exposed to so much stress and pressure in their jobs that In their desire to achieve a relaxed state of mind, they sometimes turn to alcohol or similar substances.

In most cases, it only starts with one bottle of beer or one glass of wine after work to cool down from the high-paced environment. The dose or number of bottles can go up and the behavior becomes a part of the daily routine.

The cycle starts and it becomes harder to break. One of the most ignored signs is the dependency on alcohol for a good night’s sleep. Restlessness caused by missing a bottle of beer before bedtime, even if it appears harmless is an early sign of compulsion.

Work Addiction

Entrepreneurs are known as hard workers. Hard workers are different from someone who is overworked and someone who is a workaholic. The first is a value, the second is the effect of an external force, and the third is the result of internal turmoil.

Workaholics work more than necessary and have the tendency to choose work over their personal life. Entrepreneurs can be overthinkers. Drowning themselves in paperwork can stop the pouring of uneasiness and excessive worries from rushing into their head.

Most business founders are overworked and spend more than the suggested 40 hours a week on their business. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), spending more than 55 hours at work per week can cause negative effects both to the mind and body.

Work-life Balance

Entrepreneurs are amazing people but being amazing does not make them invincible from mental health concerns. A sound mind is essential to keep the best version of one’s self.

There has been a recent rise in advocates of work-life balance in the world and it has reached various strained industries. Together with individual initiatives, the government and private organizations also stepped up to support the cause.

In Hong Kong, there are professional institutions like Everyday Empathy that specialize in founder’s mental health counseling. Reaching out for help is the first and most crucial step you can take toward recovery.

Your well-being is the best investment you can make.

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