OCD and Money Problems: Is There A Link?

OCD can cause a variety of money problems.

Impacted income

Because OCD can affect productivity, it might limit your ability to work and make money in the first place. OCD can be time- and energy-consuming, which can impact your work performance.

Cost of obsessions and compulsions

Carrying out your obsessions can be costly. For example, if you’re using excessive amounts of cleaning materials because of contamination OCD, costs can add up.

Obsessions can sometimes be tied to a belief that if they buy or don’t buy something, the person with OCD will manifest a bad event. To avoid causing a bad thing to happen and alleviate anxiety, someone with OCD might act on a compulsion to buy an item or items.

Anxiety relief

Research shows a negative mood that causes distress can increase the urge to shop. Folks with OCD might answer the compulsion to buy in an attempt to quell distress.

OCD treatment expenses

Lastly, OCD can be costly because therapy, medication, and in-patient treatment can be expensive. Read our article on what to do when you can’t afford therapy and free online mental health resources.

This isn’t to say that everyone with OCD has money problems, or that people with OCD are bad with money. The symptoms of OCD show up differently for different people, and while the disorder can affect your personal finances, this isn’t always the case.

Extreme frugality

Although extreme frugality is associated more with OCPD than OCD, people with either disorder might be prone to hoarding. This can include hoarding money, if money relates to their obsessions or compulsions.

Is frugality a common symptom of OCD?

Frugality isn’t a formal symptom of OCD. Some people with OCD might be extremely frugal, and the two may be linked.

Being frugal isn’t cause for alarm. But it might be time to speak with a therapist if you:

  • go to extremes to save money
  • feel distressed when you need to spend money
  • forgo necessities to save money, even when you don’t need to
  • try to control others’ spending
  • have a deeply perfectionistic mindset