Depression & money: is spending money a sign of depression?

With the cost of living soaring, many of us have been forced to re-evaluate our day-to-day finances and take the necessary steps to tighten our belts.

However, for many people suffering from mental health conditions, cutting their spending is easier said than done - mental health and spending money are often closely connected.

But is spending money a sign of depression? We’ve taken a look at how money and mental health conditions are linked.

Is spending connected to mental health?

You might not realise it, but your mental health can affect the way you deal with money in a number of different ways, including:

  • When feeling low or depressed, many people lack the motivation to manage their money effectively, and end up spending spontaneously or erratically.
  • Many people also bury their heads in the sand when it comes to managing their finances, especially those going through a tough time. For example, individuals who are depressed often avoid dealing with their finances altogether by not checking their bank, missing payments, or not opening their bills at all.
  • When you’re feeling low, spending money on the things that make you happy can give you a brief high and temporary feeling of happiness. However, this high can often lead you to overspend, creating additional stress and worry.
  • People struggling with their mental health can sometimes make impulsive financial decisions, especially if they are experiencing mania or hypomania.

Is spending money a sign of depression?

There is a significant link between irresponsible financial habits and depression, with many people using money as a coping mechanism for disorders related to anxiety or depression.

For example, people in a depressive state often crave the temporary feeling of euphoria that comes with spending money, experiencing a constant need to buy things to make them happy.

What is a Money Disorder?

Money disorders can have a huge impact on how you are able to manage your finances, resulting in a whole host of long-term financial difficulties that can quickly impact many areas of your life.

There are a number of different money disorder patterns, including:

  • Reoccurring gambling behaviour
  • Financial dependence on another person
  • Financial denial
  • Financial enmeshment
  • Overspending and compulsive buying disorder
  • Underspending
  • Compulsive Hoarding

Money disorders often stem from stress, anxiety, depression, relationship breakdowns, bereavement, work-related stress, addiction, and other underlying mental health conditions.

However, the good news is that, with the help of mental health professionals, they can be addressed. The key to a successful recovery is to seek professional help as quickly as possible so that an effective treatment plan can be put in place. Don't forget that money worries are normal and lots of people experience them throughout their lives. If you're experiencing money worries then see tips on how to stop worrying about money.

To find out more about how you can help support people’s mental health by becoming a counsellor or hypnotherapist, explore our range of counselling courses and hypnotherapy courses.