By: Guest Author
Published: August 19, 2020
Written by Patrick Bailey- Guest Contributor
Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are common issues that everyone faces on a day-to-day basis. If you have a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety, then you may experience higher levels of stress in your life or feel more anxious in certain situations. Stress and anxiety are bad alone, but they can also lead to other problems like withdrawal or emotional spending.
The ways we try to cope with stress can be problematic too. Some people will turn to spending money on things, whether it’s something like shopping at the mall or spending money on drugs or alcohol. This type of emotional spending is never the proper way to solve our stress or anxiety.
Understanding Emotional Spending
Emotional spending is when an individual spends money to improve their mood. Some may feel a ‘high’ when saving money on an item or others think that the product they buy will give them some enjoyment. The feeling they receive from spending money makes them feel good, so the money continues to be spent.
Emotional spending is used to improve or maintain mood as well as cope with stress or deal with feeling lonely. Individuals use emotional spending to deal with problems they have instead of turning to physically damaging coping mechanisms such as taking drugs or drinking alcohol or binge eating, though there is overlap between the two. For instance, you can spend a lot of money buying alcohol.
However, emotional spending can be just as damaging. When you are doing emotional spending, you aren’t considering savings or your future at all. You spend solely to get a temporary emotional high. When this short high is over, you hit the stores again. Even as your money runs quickly out, and you continue to shop, opening up new credit card accounts and spending money you don’t have. Some people even resort to stealing to continue with their spending habits.
So, why are you spending more?
1. You get a high from spending money. It feels good to buy new stuff and alleviates any feelings of stress or anxiety.
2. Shopping helps you to avoid your problems. You can enjoy yourself getting lost in a store or browsing a catalog and forget about your stress and anxiety for a while.
3. You feel in control. People commonly feel helpless dealing with stress and anxiety, but when you are shopping, the money is coming out of your wallet, and you can feel a sense of ownership over what you buy.
4. You think the thing you will buy will improve your mood. Sometimes it seems like a shiny new gadget is all we need to live a happier life. Sometimes we think a few drinks of alcohol is the answer. It can seem like the key to happiness is just behind a price wall.
5. You spend to follow trends. Stress and anxiety can make you feel alone and isolated, and shopping to fit in with crowds and follow trends can help you feel like a part of a group.
Acknowledging the Problem
Acknowledgment of the problem is the first step to recovery. The individual must be able to see that they are excessively spending to cope with some type of behavior or mental issue, be it stress, anxiety, depression, etc.
Many times, the individual may be suffering from a dual diagnosis The term dual diagnosis is used to describe when an individual has both an addiction and a psychiatric disorder. In this case, the addition would be to spending money, and the disorder could be depression, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, etc. The psychiatric disorder is what feeds the addiction, and both need to be acknowledged and solved for a person to be in good mental health.
Once an individual recognizes the spending problem, an evaluation can be provided to discover and treat the underlying issues. Dual diagnosis treatment centers offer evaluations and treatment to provide individuals with the proper care for the addiction as well as any mental health issues.
Until the underlying mental health issues are addressed, the addiction is always at risk of resurfacing or continuing. The two have to be fully addressed for the problem to be solved, at the same time or separately.
Author Bio: Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.
Website / Blog URL: http://patrickbaileys.com
The views expressed herein this article, written by a guest contributor, do not necessarily represent those of the Red Hot Mamas organization. The content is for informational purposes and should not substitute the advice of your doctor.