With Xmas around the corner, in this installment of Shrink Rap, I want to explore the  subject of overspending during the holidays.

Hormones play a role. To be more specific, it is really about the hormone dopamine, our body’s natural morphine, a substance our brain releases to make us feel really really good. ¬†People who compulsively¬†overspend do so to manage uncomfortable and overwhelming emotions. They get a short term sense of euphoria from manic spending that results in the release of dopamine. I see this most commonly among men and women who suffer from chronic depression and anxiety. Since we see increased levels in both anxiety and depression during the holidays, compulsive overspending on holiday gifts rises as a direct result.

Beyond dopamine, there’s also guilt, loneliness and feelings of inadequacy.

To learn more about how a wilting economy and young people’s expectations about Santa fit into the picture, listen to my chat with Susan Viebrock.

One Response

  1. Todd says:

    so true .. i am aware, today – two days before Christmas, of my mind beginning that “rap” about the things left undone – and thus the temp fix of spending a bit more (often on items in the immediate vicinity) on a gift for another – that is really a “fix” for me – a fix that really doesn’t fix anything. thanks!