A lot of people with ADHD and bipolar disorder have trouble controlling their spending. This is attributed to their dysfunctional inhibitory control, which means that their urge to spend is greater than their capacity to inhibit this behavior.
The deficit in this impulse control may be a result of various aspects such as:
- One's own life story: This happens when, somehow, the person learns to spend. The spending behavior may function as pleasure inducing or as a way to reduce discomfort. To some people overspending may come without ill side-effects (debt, property loss...), while others may even had pleasure outcomes (feelings of power, self-reward, getting rid of a bad feeling and such...).
There are still situations where the person is stimulated into overspending because of her environmental models (including fathers, grandparents, friends...). On this situations, it is important for the sufferer of ADHD and bipolar disorder to learn to assign new roles to the spending behavior, substituting the pleasure a relief roles for other more adequate ones.
- Changes in brain functioning: This situation includes people showing a brain injury compromising the proper functioning of her cognitive abilities. This injury may come as a result of a brain trauma or disease.
Brain functioning may also be modified by a neurochemical imbalance, in other words, a deficiency in some neurotransmitters may cause difficulty in controlling some behaviors, such as buying impulses. If this is the case, it is recommended for the bearer of ADHD and bipolar disorder to make use of medications that aid in regulating these brain disorders.
A quick tip to decrease overspending is to NOT USE CREDIT CARDS or CHECKS. In other words, only shop with cash, the reasoning being your control over the amount of money you have is amplified. A credit card of check are payment methods where the consequence of your money decrease only occurs some time after the purchase act, so buying seems to not lead to money decrease. As our behaviors are reinforced by their immediate consequences, when we spend with a credit card or check the consequence is only that of purchasing the goods, and not the immediate decrease of money, so the spending behavior increases in frequency, being associated only with the positive aspects, for example, the acquisition of goods.
Following these apparently innocuous tips may help a lot in controlling the urge to spend and keeping some of the ill side effects of ADHD and bipolar disorder at bay.