Money dysmorphia is a psychological disorder where individuals lead an unhealthy obsession with money. Moreover, money dysmorphia creates unhealthy financial habits that ultimately lead to more financial problems.
Money dysmorphia forces individuals to find ways to increase their wealth and improve their financial situation. But a core characteristic of the disorder is obsessive behavior that usually relies on taking high risks for high rewards.
What’s even more interesting is that money dysmorphia even occurs in individuals with no financial problems. Because of that, money dysmorphia is characterized as a real mental health disorder.
This guide will go over what money dysmorphia is and its four most commonly associated symptoms. With all that said, let’s start.
What Is Money Dysmorphia?
Money dysmorphia is a mental health disorder called Body Dysmorphic Disorder or BDD. BDD creates an unhealthy obsession in individuals where the individual cannot stop thinking about perceived flaws in their appearance.
From this, we can define money dysmorphia as a BDD disorder where the individual finds flaws in their finances. It’s important to mention that these flaws, bodily or financial, can’t be seen by others. So the problem is solely psychological.
4 Common Symptoms of Money Dysmorphia
Due to the faulty perception and distorted view of an individual’s financial situation, people who suffer from money dysmorphia exhibit the following symptoms:
- Inability to Manage Finances
- Excessive Risk Taking
- Compulsive Spending
- Excessive Focus on Accumulating Wealth
Let’s dive deeper into these common symptoms to determine the causes.
Inability to Manage Finances
One of the most common symptoms of money dysmorphia is the inability to manage finances. One of the biggest characteristics of this symptom is the inability to save money, pay bills on time, and make smart financial decisions.
Due to these characteristics, people with money dysmorphia end up in debt and make impulsive purchases. In most cases, people end up regretting these decisions, and it’s not uncommon for individuals to end up in bankruptcy.
This common symptom is one of the many causes of financial instability.
Excessive Risk Taking
Due to the nature of the disorder, individuals end up with a serious problem on their hands. People with money dysmorphia struggle to restrain from taking high risks in hopes of accumulating more wealth.
The excessive focus on accumulating wealth leads individuals down a path of excessive risk-taking. The sheer fixation on making more money forces individuals to engage in risky financial practices, which may or may not be legal.
On the legal side, individuals will look to invest in high-risk ventures in hopes of doubling, tripling, or multiplying their wealth by even more. It’s not uncommon for individuals to take high-interest-rate loans to achieve the ultimate goal of making more money.
These decisions ultimately put the individual at risk of financial instability and bankruptcy.
Compulsive spending is another common symptom of money dysmorphia. Money dysmorphia causes anxiety and stress, which forces the individual to look for ways to stop it.
One of these ways is to spend money. The trigger to spend money is a response to the emotional damage the individual suffers. Compulsive spending works contradictory to the goal of accumulating more wealth. But compulsive spending is a common symptom that is easiest to spot in individuals with money dysmorphia.
Excessive Focus on Accumulating Wealth
We already mentioned that people with money dysmorphia have a fixed obsession with accumulating wealth. This is a common symptom that impacts individuals in other areas of life.
None is most prevalent than in the area of social relationships. Namely, people with the disorder tend to be secretive about their finances. Moreover, they tend to isolate themselves from friends and family due to their obsession with making more money.
The excessive focus on accumulating wealth ultimately harms an individual social skills and ability to forge meaningful relationships. The disorder also causes difficulties in maintaining already-established healthy relationships with friends, family, and spouses. Simply put, their excessive focus on accumulating wealth hurts people around them.
Money dysmorphia is a real mental health disorder that requires professional treatment. If you or someone you know struggles with money dysmorphia, seek help from a mental health professional immediately.
Common treatments for the disorder include therapy, medication, and, most importantly, financial education. With the correct treatment and support, it is possible to overcome money dysmorphia and transform unhealthy financial decisions into healthy ones.