Bipolar and Money Management
Financial distress can be a struggle for many people, but those with bipolar disorder are particularly vulnerable to this issue due to its asymptomatic nature, meaning it is not just a burden, but an outpouring of an illness manifesting in a person’s life. This makes the situation more complicated.
When faced with financial decisions, a person with bipolar disorder may not be capable – during mood cycles in particular – of making sound choices due to the illness, which can lead to severe life complications if the person is not treated and the symptoms controlled.
Some may deal with smaller debts that they struggle to pay off while others may find themselves in deep water like foreclosure or larger pools of financial struggles, but ultimately the amount is not as important as the circumstances when it comes to the consequences of dealing with this product of bipolar disorder that some experience.
There is a deficit in what we know about bipolar disorder, but through research, we have been provided with some vital information such as the warning signs and symptoms of the illness and its mood cycles.
Examples of these symptoms of include feelings of euphoria, impulsivity, risk-taking, lack of sleep, and psychosis for mania and sleep issues like sleeping too much or too little, struggles with emotions such as feelings of sadness, or irritability, and cognitive issues for depression.
Based on what can be comprehended about bipolar disorder, one of the leading causes of financial trouble in the lives of those with bipolar disorder seems to be impulsivity.
What Is Impulsivity?
Impulsivity is a symptom of mania, and it can lead to numerous issues, one being various monetary struggles or disasters or utter financial ruin if money is not managed correctly.
This is due to the nature of impulsivity: cognitive distortions and an inability to think clearly or thoroughly can lead to oversights in financial dealings or spending choices. Impulsivity can also lead to risk-taking that puts the person at risk of financial struggle or disaster.
Impulsivity is characterized by behaving or thinking in a way which is often fast-paced, unclear or incoherent, and you tend to lack preparation or fail to think through plans – if they exist at all.
This characteristic is considered a very problematic symptom of bipolar disorder because the person may not be fully grounded in reality due to a mood cycle. Thoughts race, poor decisions get made, and the remainder in the aftermath of impulsivity can sometimes be life in shambles.
Impulsivity can also cause behaviors such as hypersexuality, impulsive shopping or buying without considering the consequences (or if you want it), and rash or poorly thought-out decisions such as starting a new business without the means to do so.
It can lead to heightened emotions or irritability, and at the moment the person may act on something they would not otherwise do instability. This could lead to self-harm or suicide attempts, the development of potentially dangerous relationships, or major life decisions such as uprooting your life and moving.
The racing thoughts or inability to think clearly in impulsivity can create a difficult work or school environment, causing a disturbance in these areas in addition to the personal distress triggered by impulsivity.
As impulsivity is most common in mania with bipolar disorder, if you are in this cycle, it is best to avoid making any major decisions until you come out of it. This could require the help of professionals and loved ones for support and guidance.
Next page: bipolar disorder and overspending, and tips on how to manage financial struggles with bipolar.