Money Disorders and Mental Health

The New Year can cause a whirlwind of different emotions, from anxiety about the year ahead to stress caused from over-spending during the holiday season.


Irresponsible financial habits commonly stem as a coping mechanism to an anxiety or depressive related disorder. While overspending or underspending may offer a temporary relief or euphoria, either can become serious habits that can lead to a lifetime of debt, family problems and even more added stress. Understanding the root causes of why you may be suffering from a money disorder in order to compensate for anxiety or depression can pave the road to recovery and a sounder mind.


What is a ‘Money Disorder?’


While money disorders cannot be officially diagnosed, they are recurring behaviors that can interrupt everyday life and cause strain on relationships. Brad Klontz, a doctor of Psychology at Kansas State University identifies eight different money disorder patterns:


  1. Pathological Gambling: reoccurring gambling behaviors.
  2. Overspending and Compulsive Buying Disorder: overbearing need to buy things.
  3. Underspending and Compulsive Hoarding: problem with getting rid of things.
  4. Workaholism: feeling stressed when not working.
  5. Financial Dependence: being dependent on another person for money.
  6. Financial Enabling: when someone is unable to say ‘no’ when another person asks for money.
  7. Financial Denial/Rejection: the act of not dealing with financial issues.
  8. Financial Enmeshment: when parents involve children in financial issues.


While money disorders are not considered specific mental disorders, they can occur from other underlying problems and can be treated.


According to a 2018 Northwestern Mutual Study 9 in 10 Americans agreed that being financially sound makes them happier and less stressed. Though money can cause happiness, the study also concluded that 44% of those surveyed agreed that money is also a source of stress and 28% said money makes them feel depressed.


Here are some other instances when money impacted everyday life, according to the survey:


  • 19% of Americans claimed that finances caused problems in their relationships.
  • 45% noted that they missed out on social events due to lack of funds.
  • 38% had problems with nuclear family members over finances.


Money disorders first need to be identified by financial therapists or financial professionals and mental health professionals in order to determine the best course of treatment. Other factors such as addiction, anxiety, depression or other underlying mental health issues will also need to be evaluated in order to properly diagnose money disorders. Seeking professional is important for anyone suffering from a money disorder.


If you or a loved one is suffering from a mental health disorder, contact a treatment facility for help. To learn more about the breadth of services offered at Havenwood Behavioral Health, visit call us at (864) 660-6217. With proper treatment and support, you can overcome mental illness.