Financial Disorders


The process addiction surrounding compulsive spending, shopping, and hording is usually the result of unresolved tension, anger, anxiety, and the fear of being hurt. A behavior, where your out of control in this way, is actually like taking a tranquilizer and can overtake one’s life. The remorse, guilt, embarrassment, shame, and often times, a huge debt, can undermine important relationships, and at times, even be lawbreaking. There are five forms of compulsive financial disorders:

  • Compulsive Spending
  • Money Obsession
  • Compulsive Under Earning, Under Achieving
  • Money Avoidance
  • Financial Betrayal
  • Financial Infidelity

Financial Disorders

It’s no secret that money is a leading cause of stress between two people in a relationship. Sometimes it is how much money a person earns, how much they spend, or what they spend their money on. Regardless of the issue, financial disorders are serious—long term damage in the form of crushing debt, bad credit scores, or bankruptcy are just some of the problems that can be brought on by financial disorders. Often the biggest step is simply just confronting the elephant in the room, because often this topic is so stressful that people would prefer to avoid it for as long as possible. However, with time and work, financial disorders can be understood and resolved.

Compulsive Spending

Compulsive spending is a behavioral addiction that is centered around the thrill of buying something new. Most people with spending addiction or compulsive spending say that for them, the act of swiping a credit card is akin to the ritual of pouring a drink for an alcoholic—it creates a sensation that they seek to feel over and over again. Unfortunately, this addiction can destroy marriages as well as financial stability. Learning to understand what is driving this compulsion is a key to treatment, as well as gaining tools for better management of stress.

Financial Betrayal

When a two people are married, their finances are often intertwined as well. But when one partner takes advantage of this and uses these joint accounts to gain access to money, they can accrue secret debts which the other partner has no choice to bear the burden of. This can mean secret bank accounts, secret credit cards, and so on. It is very similar to physical adultery, with sneaky behavior, secret keeping, and long term betrayal of trust all being common emotions that victims feel.

Work Obsessive/ Work Addiction

Many people pride themselves on their work ethic. They enjoy working hard, and this is not necessarily a bad thing. However, there comes a point where a person cannot “turn it off” when they come home. They are always working, even if they are not at work. Phones and a constant internet connection have blurred the line between home and work, and often a work-obsessed person feels a great deal of anxiety when they are not working, and to placate this uncomfortable feeling simply continues to be “on the clock” after hours. They may also be working in order to avoid chaos in their personal life, effectively escaping into their jobs. Since this often has financial rewards, sometimes it is hard for someone with work addiction to see the cost it is having on their lives.

Houston Addiction Therapy has trained staff to address these disorders.