Imagine going out one day and buying 50 hats, or shopping for a baby or a pet that you don't have. Maybe you decide to buy a couple new cars and just go to the bank, get the money and do it. Or, you might just go to the mall and have a day long shopping spree buying whatever you'd like, regardless of the cost.
Sound like someone who has more money than they have sense? Or maybe they won the lottery and don't know how to properly invest their winnings. Try again. People in the manic phase of Bipolar Disorder often spend money in foolhardy, irresponsible ways such as those above. While not listed as a Bipolar symptom, overspending may be one of the more disturbing results of the disease in that it may force the patient into bankruptcy.
Uncontrolled spending sprees usually occur in the manic or hypomanic phase of Bipolar disorder. It is during these times that the patients have an unreasonably positive view of their life and their circumstances. Another Bipolar symptom common in these manic phases is an overconfidence which makes the patient more likely to take financial risks that don't make any sense. While not as common as manic spending, some patients experiencing a depressive phase will also spend money hoping to comfort themselves or trying to draw themselves out of their depression.
With today's culture that gives access to quick money and easy spending, it is not hard for Bipolar patients to spend themselves into financial trouble. First, we as Americans receive credit card applications in the mail nearly every day. There are also business that specialize in paycheck loans for quick cash.
If you take a pay stub to these businesses, they advance you the money of your next paycheck, with of course, a hefty interest charge in tow. Once Bipolars have money, they don't even have to leave their homes to spend it. Television shopping shows may actually encourage Bipolars to spend their money. With the Internet, Bipolars can buy anything from clothes to home decor without even having to leave the house. With the ease of spending in today's society, patients with the Bipolar symptom of overspending find it easy to borrow and spend money.
While patients in the manic phase often find themselves out of control, especially when it comes to the Bipolar symptom of spending there are some ways to curb this impulsive spending. First, cut up the credit cards. You may want to look into the option of using debit cards, or if you feel you must have a credit card, request only a small credit limit.
For those with severe overspending problems, it might be helpful to consider letting a trusted friend or relative have a durable power of attorney. This will require that someone else approve purchases, and co-sign on loans or credit card applications.
If you or someone you know suffers from the Bipolar symptom of overspending, there is help. Even in our society which is geared toward spending money, you can help yourself stay out of bankruptcy.