For a person who resists giving or spending money, we assign the adjective stingy or miser. But when this behavior interferes with the natural development of life and severe conditions a person, taking to an extreme this irrational fear of spending money, is a phobia called chrometophobia.
Currently, the World Health Organization (WHO) does not recognize chrometophobia as a mental disorder in its International Classification of Diseases (ICD), but it could be considered a specific phobia. These types of aversions are described as “the marked and excessive fear or anxiety that constantly occurs upon exposure or anticipation of exposure to one or more specific objects or situations that is out of proportion to the actual danger”.
The reasons for the development of specific phobias can be different. One of them is that this fear is caused through the observation of this fear in close people and that end up conditioning. On the other hand, it can be a consequence of negative life experiences with money: a robbery, compulsive spending that leads to serious problems in coping with financial obligations, etc. Once fear is acquired, certain changes in brain activity occur and situations that lead to fear are avoided, reinforcing the avoidance behavior.
SYMPTOMS OF CHROMETOPHOBIA
At the physiological level, when a person suffering from chrometophobia is faced with a situation in which he or she must spend money, he or she may experience:
- Shortness of breath
- Increased blood pressure
- Muscle pain
At a cognitive level, the affected person often develops irrational ideas about money and negative beliefs, feeling unable to control and becoming frustrated and helpless.
From a behavioral perspective, a person with a fear of spending money may suffer in the long run:
- Mood changes
- Sleeping disorders
CONSEQUENCES OF CHROMETOPHOBIA
Deterioration of quality of life
A person with chrometophobia is afraid of spending money for any purpose, i.e., they also suffer when they must pay for food, household supplies, clothing, and all the basic needs of a human being. It implies worsening the quality of life and can cause serious health problems.
People who develop a disproportionate fear of spending their money can be affected in all spheres of their lives, even generating problems with their closest environment such as family, friends, partners, and even in the workplace. In the most severe cases, recurrent negative thoughts may cause the affected person to isolate him/herself to avoid spending money, even leading to drug abuse.
Chrometophobia affects the usual activities that the person performs that involve paying a fee. The gym, a hobby, traveling or any other occupation that involves the expenditure of money may be eliminated willingly, even if you enjoyed them before.
HOW TO OVERCOME CHROMETOPHOBIA
- Psychological treatment: cognitive-behavioral therapy guided by a professional.
- Exposure technique: expose the patient to the stimulus to develop tolerance to the fear of spending money. It must be guided by a professional.
- Cognitive technique: learning to manage irrational thoughts.
- Relaxation and meditation techniques: to alleviate irrational beliefs and discomfort.
- Emotional management: learning to manage emotions when faced with situations involving the expenditure of money.
- Good financial health: developing a good relationship with money, understanding one’s finances and knowing how to manage them.