We have always said that addictions can have a terrible ripple effect. Of course they can do tremendous damage to a person’s health, but they also destroy families and very often do irreparable damage to bank accounts. That can still very much be the case during COVID-19 and quarantining, despite the fact that people are now isolated at home.
The Economic Times recently covered the financial angle of this topic and offered a timely spin relating to the coronavirus. It approached the situation from a spouse’s perspective and shared some warning signs about compulsive online spending that could be tied back to addictions.
Breaking the spending down into four main warning signs, the Times article called out behavioral changes that people in the household should be aware of. One for instance, is a drastic increase in unnecessary online purchases (or “retail therapy” as it is commonly called).
Yes, it is healthy to want to spoil yourself a little bit during this challenging time. And yes, for some, purchasing a new gift can help lift spirits. But if the habit becomes compulsive or excessive, it may be tied back to a dependency.
Habits like drinking can quickly lead to irrational decisions. And in the case of online spending, that could mean lavish orders, random unnecessary items or simply large purchases of beer or spirits. As a spouse, the Times advised to keep an eye on what your loved one is buying and follow credit card statements as well, to ensure these transactions aren’t being kept secret.
Internet gaming is another warning sign called out by the Times. We all know that betting and substance abuse addictions go hand in hand. And we mentioned in a previous blog, how gambling is on the rise during COVID-19 (sometimes beginning out of sheer boredom).
It is recommended to follow these trends as well with your spouse. In the realm of gaming, you may not even realize that your loved one is spending money and placing bets. What looks like a harmless poker gaming site, could actually be a bank account drain that is fueling a person’s habit.
Now higher credit card bills don’t always equate to a substance abuse problem, but there are correlations that are worth looking into. Our advice is simply investigate the matter if you notice a spike in bill amounts over the past two months. And if a dependency problem does exist, make sure to reach out and get your loved one help.