Bipolar Disorder and Excessive Spending

Bipolar Disorder and Excessive Spending

Symptomatic of a manic or hypomanic episode with bipolar is excessive spending, compulsive shopping and impulsive purchases.

Well how different is that from “normal” individuals. Probably the majority of people have at some stage indulged in these activities. How many of us possess collections of “must have” cookery books, diet books etc bought during periods of intense interest and rarely used thereafter. What is considered overindulgent by some might seem perfectly normal to others.

Not all reckless spenders are bipolar but for anyone with bipolar disease it can become a problem with serious consequences if precautionary measures are not in place.

During bipolar episodes there is often a lack of ability to link actions with consequence. This might in part be due to the feelings of grandiosity – totally inflated, unrealistic ideas of capabilities. Also the diminished ability to think and reason clearly no doubt contribute but knowing why is little consolation when the debts pile up.

There are some who have gone as far as forging signatures (usually of family members or friends) on credit cards, loan documents etc which seems to indicate the compulsion to reach the goal totally dominates the action. Possibly it’s the misdirected creative ability of hypomania which is the driving force. The reasoning ability is clear enough to know that using their own credentials will not succeed but the compulsion to get what they want at that point in time overrides all else.

For the bipolar individual and those supporting them its best to accept the potential for inappropriate financial dealings exists and to put in place precautionary measures to curb the potential damage. Limiting access to credit cards is paramount. Any cash allowance should be spread over the period rather than provided all at once.

It’s might be worthwhile quietly removing acquisitions, keeping receipts and waiting to see if they are ever referred to again. Very often it’s the compulsive need to spend, regardless of the desire or need for the item, that the act satisfies.

The potential for bipolar and obesity is ever present so If overindulgence in food is part of the spending mix there is added incentive to take the necessary precautions.

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