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Chrometophobia, an extreme and irrational fear of spending money, is a relatively unknown phobia that has only been diagnosed in a handful of people in the UK.
However, it is unknown whether low diagnosis levels are because chrometophobia doesn’t occur as frequently as other phobias, or whether it is because many people are unaware that this phobia exists.
Today, we are going to look at chrometophobia in more detail, including the common causes, triggers, symptoms and treatment options.
What is chrometophobia?
Chrometophobia is an extreme, irrational and overwhelming fear of money, specifically of spending money. Someone with this phobia may experience intense fear, anxiety or panic at the sight, smell or touch of physical money or at the thought of spending money. Chrometophobia can be so extreme that it can be extremely difficult for someone to spend money or pay their bills, even if they are in a good financial position. Some people with chrometophobia also experience anxiety if they are near objects that have a high monetary value, such as rare art, expensive cars or jewellery.
Chrometophobia can manifest in several ways, including:
- Withdrawing from activities where you need to spend money.
- Fear, anxiety or panic at the prospect of spending money.
- An extreme reluctance to think about money or your spending habits.
- A refusal to open any money-related mail, such as bank statements, or a refusal to check your bank account.
- A desire to constantly count your money or check your bank account.
- A refusal to touch physical money (e.g. coins and notes).
- A refusal to touch debit or credit cards.
- A refusal to touch valuable items, such as expensive jewellery, gold, artwork etc.
- Denying yourself necessities and luxuries, even if you can afford them.
- Having a limited social life and few personal relationships.
- Getting into debt because of a refusal to pay your bills.
- An inability to work as the thought of earning money or having money in your bank account can cause you extreme anxiety.
- The fear that money is corrupt or capable of corrupting people.
- The fear of financial failure.
- The fear of the germs and bacteria that are commonly found on physical money.
Chrometophobia is a highly individualised condition, as it manifests differently in different people. One person with the condition may obsessively count their money and check their bank accounts, whereas another person may refuse to touch, think about, talk about or manage their money in any way.
It can be common for someone who is experiencing financial difficulties, such as debt, or someone who has experienced a change in their financial circumstances, such as losing their job, to feel fear and anxiety surrounding money and their finances. However, these feelings can be completely normal and realistic and not out of proportion to the situation. Someone who has chrometophobia may experience fear, anxiety and panic even if they are in a good financial position or if they are only spending a very small amount of money, such as paying 35p for a newspaper.
To be classified as chrometophobia, your fear of money will include:
- Feelings of intense fear, panic or anxiety that are difficult to manage.
- Fear or anxiety that is out of proportion to the situation.
- A fear of spending money that lasts for a minimum of six months.
- Engaging in avoidance behaviours to prevent encounters with money or situations where you will need to spend money.
- A fear of spending money that interferes with your day-to-day life, overall well-being or sense of safety.
Many people with chrometophobia will engage in avoidance behaviours to enable them to avoid spending money or coming into contact with money. For example, they may avoid social events, such as going to a restaurant or to the cinema, they may choose a job that allows them to work from home so they don’t have to spend money on petrol or public transport, or they may avoid paying household bills.
However, although avoidance behaviours may reduce the likelihood that your phobia is triggered, they can have a significant negative impact on your social life, your professional life, your relationships and your ability to carry out everyday tasks. Avoidance behaviours usually have a paradoxical effect, meaning that although they are designed to help the person manage or reduce their phobia, they actually have the opposite effect and instead reinforce the phobia and, in many cases, result in more severe symptoms in the future.
Symptoms of chrometophobia may not only occur in situations where you are required to spend money. It can also affect your ability to function or concentrate in your day-to-day life, as you are consumed with the fear that you may be required to spend or touch money. This can result in you avoiding any place or situation where there is any risk of you coming into contact with money or could cause you to experience fear and anxiety on a regular basis.
If you have chrometophobia, you may be aware that your fear of spending money is irrational and disproportionate to the risk; however, you may still be unable to control your fear and prevent or reduce your physiological and psychological responses to money.
Chrometophobia is related to and can occur in conjunction with other phobias and mental health conditions, including:
How common is chrometophobia?
Chrometophobia is a type of specific phobia, which means it is a lasting, overwhelming and unreasonable fear of a specific object, situation, activity or person; in this situation, an overwhelming fear of money and spending money. Because the diagnostic criteria for phobias refer generally to specific phobias, there are no individual statistics available that indicate how many people have chrometophobia. However, approximately 7.5% of the population experiences a specific phobia, equating to nearly 5 million people.
Chrometophobia is thought to be a particularly rare type of specific phobia, with only a small number of people being diagnosed with this phobia. However, similarly to other phobias, chrometophobia often goes undiagnosed.
This could be for a number of reasons, such as:
- Many people have never heard of chrometophobia so may not realise they are experiencing a diagnosable medical condition.
- Many people are not aware that effective treatment for phobias is available.
- Many people do not discuss their fear with others, so may not be aware that their thoughts, feelings and behaviours are extreme and irrational.
- Many people implement avoidance behaviours which reduce their contact with money or their need to spend money.
- Some people may be aware that their fear is irrational, which causes feelings of embarrassment or shame.
Fear and anxiety relating to spending money are relatively common, particularly following the Covid-19 pandemic (where many people had a reduced income) and the current rising cost of living. However, this does not mean that all people who feel anxious about money are experiencing chrometophobia. Negative thoughts and emotions when faced with spending money, occur on a spectrum, ranging from low levels of fear and anxiety to severe fear, panic and anxiety that can impact your day-to-day life, affect your decision-making and result in avoidance behaviours of certain places and situations.
Who is at risk of chrometophobia?
Although anyone can develop chrometophobia, there are certain risk factors that can increase the likelihood that you will develop a fear of spending money.
These can include:
- Having a previous traumatic or negative experience involving money or spending money.
- Currently or previously being in debt.
- Being in poverty or growing up in poverty.
- Currently or previously being homeless.
- Witnessing your parents fighting over money during your childhood.
- Experiencing obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety disorder, depression, panic attacks or another mental health condition.
- Having a lack of understanding of money and the economy.
- Having another related phobia, such as officinaphobia or mysophobia.
- Being a naturally more anxious or nervous person or having a heightened mental state.
- Having a close family member, such as a parent or sibling, with chrometophobia.
- Having a close family member, such as a parent or sibling, with another phobia.
- Being exposed to chrometophobia or anxiety around spending money during childhood or adolescence.
- Going through a significant life event or stressor, having higher than usual stress levels or being in a heightened mental state (particularly if you are exposed to a fear of spending money or have a negative experience with money during this time).
- Having a substance use disorder, including an addiction to drugs or alcohol.
Although you can develop a phobia at any age, many phobias develop during childhood and adolescence, with another significant spike during the early to mid-twenties. However, chrometophobia is often triggered for the first time when people begin earning money or become responsible for their own finances.
Although the above risk factors raise the likelihood that you could develop chrometophobia, they do not guarantee that you will develop the condition. A child or adult with none of the above risk factors may develop chrometophobia, whereas someone with several risk factors may never develop the condition.
How to deal with chrometophobia
There are several different ways you can deal with and effectively manage your phobia. Even formal phobia treatment options are most successful when combined with effective coping and calming strategies and permanent lifestyle changes. Coping and calming strategies can help you to alleviate your symptoms and reduce the impact that your phobia has on your day-to-day life and overall well-being.
There are specific strategies that can be implemented long term, meaning you should engage in them regularly on a long-term basis to help reduce the frequency and severity of your symptoms over time and reduce the likelihood of your phobia being triggered. Some strategies can be implemented short term when you are faced with your triggers. Short-term strategies can help to calm you down and reduce or prevent physiological, psychological and behavioural symptoms.
Some long-term and short-term coping and calming strategies that can be implemented to help you deal with your chrometophobia are:
Desensitising yourself so that you are less sensitive to money and spending money can help reduce the severity of your phobia. Desensitisation should happen gradually to ensure you feel safe and secure and don’t feel overwhelmed. Some ways you can desensitise yourself are by being in the same room as money, touching money in a controlled environment and spending money on something you really love. Gradually desensitising yourself can help you to gradually reduce your fear response. Ensure that you only try and desensitise yourself in an environment you are comfortable with and around people you trust.
Manage your spending anxiety
There are several ways you can manage your spending anxiety. Managing your spending anxiety can reduce your chrometophobia. Different people with chrometophobia have fear and anxiety that are centred around different things.
Some ways you can reduce your spending anxiety are:
- Set up direct debits or automatic payments for all your bills and as many outgoings as possible.
- Create a monthly or weekly budget.
- Utilise a budgeting app to help you manage your finances.
- Use electronic money rather than physical cash.
- Ensure you have an emergency fund.
- Have short-term and long-term financial goals.
- Learn about money and the financial market.
Learn about your phobia
Identifying what initially caused your fear of spending money and thinking about the initial onset of your symptoms and the situation surrounding it can help you to understand your phobia in more detail. This allows you to address the root cause of your fear and any negative thoughts and emotions that are connected to it. Understanding your phobia can help you to rationalise and understand your thoughts and emotions related to your fear, reduce your automatic fear response and reduce the impact your phobia has on your life.
Create a fear ladder
A fear ladder can help you to analyse and understand your fear of money and spending money and determine which of your triggers create more severe fear, anxiety and panic than others. A fear ladder allows you to organise your triggers from least severe to most severe. Because phobias are highly individualised, everyone’s fear ladder is different.
However, an example fear ladder is shown below:
1 = Spending money on a non-essential object or service.
2 = Spending physical money.
3 = Spending electronic money.
4 = Touching physical money.
5 = Opening a letter or email relating to bills or debt.
6 = Checking your bank statement or bank account.
Once you have created your fear ladder, you can then confront your fears one at a time, starting at the bottom of the ladder (the trigger that results in the least phobic response). This can help you to build up your tolerance of your triggers gradually and reduce your fear of spending money.
Challenge negative thoughts and feelings
Those with chrometophobia often find themselves thinking about spending money in a negative way or recalling negative experiences involving spending money in the past. In future, try to disrupt and challenge any negative thoughts and memories to prevent your fear from escalating. Remind yourself that the risks from spending money are negligible and that money cannot hurt you. If you begin to experience symptoms of chrometophobia, remind yourself that the feelings will soon pass and that your fear is irrational.
Avoid negative depictions of money
TV shows, films or news stories that portray people spending money or getting into debt in a negative way can validate the negative connotations you associate with money and cause you to experience more acute fear and anxiety. Avoid any triggering or negative depictions of money to prevent your phobia from escalating.
Practise yoga or meditation
Yoga and meditation can be implemented as long-term coping and calming strategies to help you manage or reduce your chrometophobia. They can teach you how to control your breathing and manage your body’s negative response to your triggers and can help you to feel more in control and calm. Yoga and meditation can both reduce the physiological and psychological responses you may have when faced with your triggers in the future. Practising them every day can help to improve the symptoms of chrometophobia over time and reduce the likelihood of you experiencing a phobic response.
Mindfulness can be beneficial in treating a variety of anxiety disorders, including phobias. It can help you to focus your breathing and attention, reduce the likelihood of you experiencing a panic attack and can reduce the symptoms of chrometophobia. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction can help you to manage stress and anxiety and explore the connection between mind and body. It often includes meditation and yoga.
Practise deep breathing exercises
Deep breathing exercises can be effective both long term and short term. They are a useful calming strategy that can reduce the impact your fear of spending money has on your life. Deep breathing exercises can be a successful way of lowering your stress levels, relieving tension in your body and reducing anxiety and panic. Deep breathing sends a message to your brain to relax and calm down. It can also help you to control your central nervous system, which is central to your phobic responses. Practise deep breathing regularly, as part of your daily routine, and implement the strategies you have learnt if you are in a triggering situation in the future.
Implement visualisation techniques
Visualisation is a short-term coping and calming strategy that can help you to reduce the symptoms of your phobia when you are in triggering situations. If you are faced with a trigger or can feel symptoms of your phobia beginning, visualising a place or memory that keeps you calm or elicits positive emotions can help you to alleviate your symptoms and prevent your phobia from escalating.
Implement lifestyle changes
Multiple lifestyle factors can worsen the symptoms of chrometophobia, such as a poor sleep schedule and high stress levels. Implementing a successful sleep routine and reducing your daily stress can reduce the severity of your phobia both short term and long term. Other lifestyle factors that could help you deal with your phobia include eating a healthy, balanced diet and increasing the amount of exercise you do. In the lead-up to triggering situations, avoiding caffeine, sugar and other stimulants can help to prevent your heart rate and blood pressure from rising and the symptoms of your phobia from worsening.
What triggers chrometophobia?
Because chrometophobia is an individualised phobia, different people have different triggers. It could be that certain scenarios or situations, different places or different objects trigger your phobia.
Your triggers can vary depending on what initially caused you to develop a phobia of spending money, what your fear is centred around and your current mental health and mindset.
It could be that your phobia is triggered by one thing, most likely spending money, or that multiple situations trigger your phobia. If your phobia has multiple triggers, it could be that certain triggers result in more severe symptoms than others.
The most common triggers of chrometophobia are:
- Spending money on non-essential items.
- Spending money on essential items.
- Paying your bills, either automatically or manually.
- Seeing, touching or smelling physical money.
- Seeing or touching a debit card, a credit card, a cheque book or another object associated with money.
- Seeing, touching or being in close proximity to valuable or expensive items.
- Receiving emails or letters relating to finances or money.
- Going to a place where you may need to spend money.
- Receiving pop-up adverts or seeing adverts on the TV, online or in another place relating to money or finances.
- Receiving your paycheque from work.
In order to avoid their triggers, some people with chrometophobia implement avoidance behaviours to avoid situations or scenarios where they may be required to spend money or may come into contact with money. However, although avoidance behaviours may help in the short term, over time they can instead reinforce your fear and worsen your phobia. Avoidance behaviours can also have a significant impact on your life, particularly if they cause you to avoid professional and social situations or impact your day-to-day life. Failure to deal with your phobia can also cause you to experience more severe symptoms when faced with your triggers in the future.
What are the symptoms of chrometophobia?
The symptoms of chrometophobia can occur in a range of situations and places, including when you are faced with spending money, when there is even a small risk of spending or coming into contact with money and when you are thinking about or remembering spending money. Phobias such as chrometophobia have a huge variety of symptoms that can diverge significantly in their frequency, severity and manifestation.
Different people experience different symptoms, with some people experiencing more severe symptoms than others. Symptoms can also differ from situation to situation, with different triggers and different situations resulting in more severe symptoms than others.
Differences in the manifestation and severity of symptoms can happen for multiple reasons, such as different triggers, your perception of the situation and the potential risk, your current mental health and well-being and whether you are undergoing any treatment or have implemented any coping strategies.
The symptoms of chrometophobia can be both physiological (related to your body) and psychological (related to your mind) and can range from mild to severe. Signs and symptoms can be similar to the signs and symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks, particularly if you are experiencing severe symptoms. Symptoms are usually automatic and uncontrollable. They may feel like you are unable to control or reduce your feelings and that your phobia is taking over your body, your thoughts and your feelings.
Some of the symptoms of chrometophobia are listed below. You may experience only some or all of the symptoms. People who have chrometophobia are most likely to experience the most severe symptoms when faced with spending money.
- Increase in blood pressure.
- Increase in heart rate, palpitations or feeling like your heart is pounding.
- Muscle tension or feeling like your muscles are stiff.
- Excessive sweating or feeling clammy.
- Shortness of breath, hyperventilating or feeling like you cannot breathe.
- Trembling or shaking.
- Feeling like your mouth is dry or sticky.
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
- Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain or feeling like you have butterflies.
- Feeling confused or disorientated.
- A choking sensation, difficulties swallowing or feeling like something is stuck in your throat.
- A prickly sensation or feeling like you have pins and needles.
- Experiencing a panic attack.
- Feeling hot or cold or being extra sensitive to temperature.
- Unusual fatigue or tiredness.
- A lack of appetite when in triggering situations or in the lead-up to triggering situations.
- Insomnia in the lead-up to triggering situations.
- Overwhelming fear, anxiety or panic when faced with spending money.
- Extreme anxiety when close to expensive or valuable objects.
- Anticipatory anxiety in the lead-up to spending money.
- Avoiding situations where you might need to spend money or may come into contact with money.
- Feelings of fear, anxiety or panic that are out of proportion to the risks and being unable to control these feelings, even if you are aware they are irrational.
- Feeling like you are about to lose control, or you are out of control.
- Difficulties concentrating or functioning normally in situations where you might need to spend money.
- Avoiding spending money as much as possible.
- Extreme reluctance or refusal to think about money.
- A refusal to spend money, even on essential items or to pay your bills.
- Excessively checking your bank account or counting your money.
- Refusing to deal with, talk about or think about money.
- Refusing to touch money.
- Becoming socially withdrawn.
- Refusing medical care that costs money, such as dental care, eye care or paying for prescriptions.
What causes chrometophobia?
Because chrometophobia is an individualised phobia, the cause or causes can vary from person to person. It could be that there is one clear cause for your phobia of spending money or that your phobia has multiple causes. In some cases, it can be difficult to identify the cause of your phobia, particularly if your symptoms developed slowly over time or your phobia developed a long time ago.
However, determining the root cause of your phobia can be extremely beneficial as it can help you to address your initial triggers and any negative patterns of thought or negative feelings that are attached to the initial onset of your fear. This can make it easier to treat chrometophobia and for you to develop effective coping strategies. Being aware of the cause of your fear of spending money can make your phobia easier to manage.
There are many different potential causes of chrometophobia, and the causes may be environmental, psychological and genetic.
Some of the most common causes of chrometophobia are:
Currently or previously living in poverty
People who are currently experiencing or have previously experienced poverty or homelessness are more likely to feel fear and anxiety when spending money. This could be because they are afraid of being unable to afford necessities or pay for their rent or mortgage. This anxiety can create negative thought patterns which can result in them thinking of spending money as negative or dangerous.
A taboo surrounding money
Many cultures consider it taboo to talk about money, even within your own family or with close friends. Money is often considered taboo in the UK, with people reluctant to discuss their earnings and their finances. This can cause someone to feel uncomfortable around money and create feelings of anxiety, shame or embarrassment. Considering money as a taboo subject can create negative thoughts and emotions and can create a lack of understanding about money and finances. This can contribute to someone developing chrometophobia.
A negative or traumatic experience involving money or spending money
Also known as a direct learning experience or traumatic conditioning, this refers to a negative or traumatic event or experience that triggers a fear of spending money. The event that caused the traumatic conditioning may not actually have involved real danger or a real risk. However, as long as you experienced significant fear, distress or trauma, this could have led to the development of a phobia.
Negative or traumatic experiences could include seeing your parents fight or break up over money, getting into debt, being scammed after making a purchase or believing you caught a virus or illness from touching monetary notes or coins. Following the negative event, you may experience intrusive and negative thoughts or memories of the trauma and begin to avoid trauma-related triggers, for example, by avoiding places and situations where you may need to spend money. This can cause the fear or anxiety you felt at the time of the experience to linger or worsen.
Fear rumination is when you engage in a repetitive negative thought process and persistently and repetitively recap a traumatic or negative experience involving spending money. Over time, these thoughts and memories can become increasingly upsetting and intrusive and can make you remember the experience as being more negative than it was in reality. Fear rumination reinforces your natural fear responses, creates additional anxiety and can result in you developing a phobia.
A lack of knowledge and understanding about money
A lack of financial knowledge, sometimes referred to as financial illiteracy, means you often lack the skills and knowledge to handle your finances efficiently. This can result in poor financial decisions, a lack of confidence in spending money and feelings of anxiety surrounding money. Poor financial literacy also often results in poverty, which is another cause of chrometophobia.
Having obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
OCD can result in chrometophobia as the condition can result in someone overthinking or obsessing about money, becoming obsessed with calculating and recording their finances or refusing to touch physical money because of the risk of germs and contamination. Chrometophobia commonly occurs alongside OCD and other anxiety disorders.
Negative depictions of money
Money and spending money are often portrayed negatively in popular culture, including in films such as The Wolf of Wall Street. Seeing the pitfalls of spending money and how money can negatively affect your life can result in you viewing money negatively. You may also see TV shows or films or hear news stories about people falling into poverty or losing their homes because of overspending or wasting their money and this can result in fear or anxiety that is centred around spending money.
A learned phobia
Phobias can develop because of an observational learning experience, meaning you observed a fear of spending money in another person and learnt to associate it with fear or developed fear and anxiety when spending money yourself. You are more likely to learn a phobia if you are exposed to it during childhood or adolescence. In fact, children who grow up with a close family member, such as a parent or sibling, with chrometophobia are more likely to develop a fear of money themselves.
Experiencing significant stress
Significant, long-term stress can result in a disproportionate fear response or an inability to manage intense situations, which can make it more likely that you will develop a phobia. A stressful and distressing event, such as a bereavement, can also trigger a phobia, as it can result in some people being less able to manage their emotions and thought processes. If you are exposed to chrometophobia or have a negative or traumatic experience related to money while experiencing significant stress, this is more likely to develop into a phobia.
How is chrometophobia diagnosed?
Chrometophobia is one of the least well-known and least diagnosed phobias. It can be difficult to determine whether your fear of spending money is severe enough to be classified as a phobia.
Although chrometophobia can manifest differently in different people, it usually includes:
- Fear, anxiety or panic that are out of proportion to the actual risks.
- Fear that impacts your ability to function in your everyday life or in certain situations.
- Thoughts and feelings surrounding spending money that negatively impact your quality of life, your mental health or your well-being.
- Symptoms that occur when faced with your triggers or when thinking about spending money.
- Fear or anxiety that results in avoidance behaviours.
If you think you may have chrometophobia, you should first visit your GP. Although your GP is unlikely to make a formal diagnosis, they will still need to ask some questions about your symptoms before making a referral to a psychologist or phobia specialist.
Your GP will likely ask you about:
- What your symptoms are, how frequently they occur and how severe they are.
- What your medical history is, including any anxiety disorders, panic disorders, phobias or other mental health conditions you have experienced.
- Whether you take any medication or supplements.
- Whether you have a family history of phobias.
If your symptoms are consistent with chrometophobia, your GP will then make a referral to a psychologist. The psychologist will conduct a phobia questionnaire and compare your symptoms to the diagnostic criteria for specific phobias. The psychologist will also ask when your symptoms began, what initially caused your fear of spending money and how much it interferes with your everyday life and decision-making.
To receive a formal diagnosis of chrometophobia, your symptoms will need to correspond with the seven key criteria listed below:
1. The fear must be persistent, excessive and unreasonable.
2. Exposure to their triggers or being faced with spending money leads to an immediate anxiety response in the majority of situations.
3. The fear is excessive and disproportionate to the threat, and this is recognised by the individual.
4. The individual avoids places or situations where they may need to spend money or could encounter money. If they are faced with spending money, the individual will experience extreme fear, anxiety or distress.
5. The anticipation of spending money and the avoidance behaviours associated with avoiding their triggers can have a significant impact on the individual’s day-to-day life.
6. The fear has lasted for a minimum of six months.
7. The phobia is not associated with another disorder or mental health condition.
If your symptoms fit the diagnostic criteria, you will receive a diagnosis of chrometophobia. Depending on the severity of your phobia, treatment may be recommended.
How is chrometophobia treated?
Similarly to other phobias, there are several, usually effective, treatment options available for chrometophobia. For people who experience symptoms frequently or whose symptoms are severe, who engage in avoidance behaviours or who find that their phobia affects their day-to-day life or well-being, treatment is likely to be particularly effective.
However, not all individuals with phobias require treatment. If your symptoms are mild or do not impact your everyday life or well-being, or you have implemented successful coping strategies, you may not require treatment. However, you should still discuss your treatment options with your GP or psychologist before making a decision.
Because multiple treatment options are available, your psychologist will create a personalised treatment plan that is designed to effectively treat the cause and symptoms of your phobia.
When creating your treatment plan, your psychologist will consider:
- How severe your symptoms are.
- How frequently your symptoms occur.
- What the root cause of your phobia is.
- How significantly your phobia impacts your life.
- Your overall health and well-being, including your mental health.
The most effective treatment options for chrometophobia are:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT is an effective treatment option for a range of anxiety disorders, including OCD, and phobias. CBT is a popular type of psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy. CBT aims to help you to deconstruct your negative thought patterns to help you understand your fear and the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that are connected to your fears.
CBT focuses on harmful thoughts, feelings and behaviours and identifies the root cause of your fear of spending money. This enables you to reduce your automatic fear response and your psychological and physiological responses to your triggers.
CBT sessions can be conducted individually or as part of a group with other people with similar fears.
CBT sessions usually include:
- Discussing your triggers and symptoms.
- Exploring what caused your fear of spending money.
- Exploring your fears in more detail.
- Learning how to recognise your negative thoughts and change the way you are thinking.
- Learning coping strategies and calming strategies, such as deep breathing exercises, distraction techniques and coping statements.
Exposure therapy is one of the most popular treatment options for specific phobias. Also known as systematic desensitisation, exposure therapy gradually exposes you to your fears and triggers in a safe and controlled environment while simultaneously teaching you coping strategies to help you manage and reduce any negative thought patterns, feelings and behaviours.
Through gradual exposure, you should eventually be able to face your fears and triggers without experiencing fear and anxiety responses. During your sessions, you will work with the psychologist to create a fear ladder of scenarios and situations that are triggering. Your exposure will begin gradually, with a situation that creates the least phobic response, for example, being close to physical money. Once you are comfortable with this level of exposure, you will move on to the next level. The aim is that through systematic desensitisation, you will eventually be comfortable with the most triggering situations, such as going to a shop and making a purchase.
Exposure therapy can help you to overcome your phobia in several ways:
1. Emotional Processing: It can help you to create realistic thoughts and beliefs about spending money.
2. Extinction: It can help you to unlearn any negative associations, negative patterns of thought and negative feelings associated with spending money.
3. Habituation: Because exposure is repetitive over time, this can help to decrease your reactions to your trigger long term.
4. Self-Efficacy: It can show you that you are able to overcome your fear and reduce your anxiety, making this seem more achievable in the future and more likely that you can continue what you have learnt in the sessions independently.
Clinical hypnotherapy involves a combination of guided relaxation techniques and focused attention. It aims to help you reduce your stress, fear and anxiety responses. During the sessions, you will be put into a deeply relaxed state while you discuss your phobia and your triggers. You will identify and discuss the root cause of your fear of spending money and any negative thought patterns, memories, feelings and behaviours that are contributing to your phobia.
Hypnotherapy aims to help you to repattern your negative thoughts, memories and feelings and change your perception of spending money. You will also learn calming strategies, such as deep breathing and relaxation techniques, to help you reduce your symptoms in the future.
Although medication can be effective in treating anxiety disorders, it is not a common treatment option for phobias. However, you may be offered medication alongside other treatment options, particularly if you also experience other mental health conditions alongside your phobia, such as OCD, anxiety or depression.
Some medications that may be offered are: