Chrometophobia (also called Chrematophobia) is the intense fear of money. Both the words, Chrometophobia and Chrematophobia originate from Greek chermato meaning money and phobos meaning deep aversion, dread or fear.
Money is a necessity of life. However, to a person suffering from Chrematophobia, dealing with money is extremely difficult. The phobia naturally affects one’s daily life as shopping or working, traveling on buses and trains etc becomes very difficult. Some phobics are only afraid of the corrupting power of money; still others might fear financial failures or the responsibility money brings. Some cases of fear of money phobia might be related to fear of germs as a result of which the person might be afraid to touch money handled by someone else. Many go to the extent of wearing gloves to avoid getting sick after handling money. In general, Chrometophobia is a rare phobia affecting handful of people around the world.
Causes of fear of money
- Generally speaking people with very little money tend to suffer more from the fear of money. Often, these include beggars who tend to starve themselves on the streets but refuse to ask for money to buy food. Such people also tend to feel anxious about the little money they have which creates thinking patterns that make them think of money as a bad object.
- As in case of other phobias, the fear of money might also originate from negative experiences, which money often brings. Where there is money there is greed and this concept has been ingrained in us right since our childhood in the form of fairy tales and stories of evil doers who harm good people for money.
- A child might see its parents fight and squabble over money and might grow up with negative thinking patterns about it. These patterns are hard to change and can lead to permanent Chrometophobia.
- Finances also bring responsibilities. One has to take care and save money and invest it to make it grow. Bad investments lead to losses that are often devastating. News reports, stories about these can all lead to fear of money.
- Money often leads to stress and anxiety and could make people feel powerless or out of control.
- People having pre-existing anxiety disorders could also suffer from the fear of money phobia. Deficiencies, other physical illnesses or hormonal disorders could also lead to Chrematophobia.
Symptoms of Chrematophobia
The fear of money could cause varying symptoms based on the extent of one’s fear.
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- The phobic might refuse to deal with money. As a result, everyday activities become difficult for him/her.
- Constantly counting money is another symptom of Chrematophobia. Those with little money often feel powerless or find themselves without means of taking care of themselves.
- Many phobics tend to be socially withdrawn and might refuse to participate in family activities. They find it meaningless to buy necessities, or even go for movies, or to restaurants etc. This can affect his/her relationships with family members causing them to feel isolated.
- Depression is a major side effect of this phobia. The phobic often realizes his irrationality of his thoughts but feels powerless to control them.
- Sometimes, the mere sight or thought of money might bring on physical symptoms in the phobic including shaking, trembling, sweating, dry mouth, shortness of breath, nausea, the urge to scream, cry or flee.
- When illness occurs, the Chrometophobic might refuse to see a doctor or dentist, often resulting in negative health consequences.
As can be seen, Chrematophobia is a debilitating phobia. One might think that with the availability of electronic money transfers, or credit cards etc, such fears can be eased as the person does not have to handle money physically. However, the condition is not only about handling money, but more about dealing with its exchange. The thought of exchanging or giving money away sets off a full blown panic attack in the individual.
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Thanks to advances in psychology and psychiatry, there is help available for Chrometophobic patients. Naturally, the first step is to acknowledge and accept the fear and seek help from professionals. Naturally this means spending money but it is important that family members make the phobic understand that it is all for a good cause.
Self help techniques like meditation and positive affirmations can also help. New Age thinking also tells us to let go of materialistic pleasures and earthly bonds to come in a perpetual state of bliss. That being said; some amount of money is necessary for life and, when used well can give rise to fulfillment and joy. One must learn as much as possible about money as the knowledge about it can help erase its fears and prevent them from controlling one’s life. Doing charity, seeing one’s money being put to good use etc might also help the phobic realize and accept the positive side of money.
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Other modern therapies such as Hypnotherapy, neuro-lingusitic programming or NLP, gradual exposure therapy and cognitive behavior therapy can also help the patient. All these therapies help get to the root of the Chrometophobia to overcome it once and for all.