According to a report from the AFP, the phenomenon came to light when Antonio Horta-Osario, chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group, announced that he was taking a medical leave of absence until the end of year. Reports claim the director, who earns a basic annual salary of £1 million ($1.57 million), was suffering from fatigue after just six months at the helm of the bailed-out bank.
Dr. Michael Sinclair, clinical director of City Psychology Group, thinks this is just the tip of a worrying trend among bankers.
"There's definitely an increase in (patients) presenting to us with stress-related conditions, a whole host of anxiety disorder and depression," Sinclair told AFP.
Sinclair blames the current economic turmoil for the growth in cases of stress-related illness, which can cause a range of physical symptoms including headaches, back pain, heart conditions and insomnia.
Professor of psychology and health at Lancaster University, Cary Cooper, agrees:
In this high-pressure industry, Cooper suggests there is a 'survival of the fittest' mentality, where bankers, brokers, traders and other managers are likely to conceal their stress symptoms from their employers.
"The majority of people working the financial sector would not admit to not coping because it could mean they are highly vulnerable to job loss," Cooper said.
In 2008, Bloomberg reported a trend in “bankers using secret clinics, and nurses to beat breakdowns.”
According to a 2008 industry survey, the banking industry was ranked the last, based on 2,000 responses from people in 20 professions.