It often starts with a healthy worry concerning current financial status. Then worrying become obsessive. Gradually, getting more money to meet financial obligations becomes a desperate measure. Things could work out fine and normalcy is restored. But when it doesn’t, and debt – huge or small – is in sight, there is something to worry about. The sensible thing to do at this stage is to cut out frivolous expenses and get a scale of preference which may include getting economy class tickets instead of the usual business class. Luxury foreign trips will be let go. For those who are not that high on the economy pyramid, similar changes are also expected in lifestyles. Dry fish will replace fresh fish in soup, and at least a zero will replace one of the 1’s in the familiar 1-1-1 food schedule. These happen externally. But beyond these outward manifestations of personal financial recession, the empty wallet and partially empty bank account are taking an unhealthy toll on the health status of the owner. It is called Money Sickness Syndrome (MSS).
Money Sickness Syndrome is the least known but most widespread condition affecting people all over the world. While there is no all-encompassing literally right and scientifically correct definition, the condition could be described as the physical, psychological and social manifestations and symptoms experienced by people who are worried or are excessively concerned about their financial situation. The syndrome was first described in 2006 by mental health expert Dr Roger Henderson who carried out a survey with insurance company AXA in the UK.
From the results of the study, it was documented that about 90 percent of adults in the UK are displaying psychological symptoms brought on by financial stress and anxiety as a result of worries about money. A critical analysis of the results showed that 21 percent of mid–high level managers experience “constant” financial worries while only 9 percent of skilled manual workers suffer from this problem. The syndrome costs the UK economy about £3.7 billion ($6 billion) annually, while 20 percent of skilled manual workers and junior managers/admin staff are the groups most likely to turn to alcohol consumption to cope with the syndrome.