Why Are Rich People Depressed? (7 reasons)

Today’s blog post answers the question, ‘Why Are Rich People Depressed?’ We begin with understanding the rich. This is then accompanied by a detailed understanding of the various reasons that answer the question, ‘why are rich people depressed?’ Lastly, we discussed the various strategies that the rich people apply or can further apply to keep depression at bay. 

Why Are Rich People Depressed?

There are a number of reasons that can answer the question, ‘why are rich people depressed?’ new studies show that the richer people become, the less happy they are. It was seen that once they reach a specific amount of income, any amount after that is associated with a reduced life satisfaction and a lower sense of well-being. This affects the adults as well as children and makes them more prone to anxiety, depression and substance abuse as compared to people from less affluent families.

Here are a few reasons that can help understand the reasons for the rich to be more depressed: 

  • Treadmill effect
  • More money, more isolation
  • Endless working hours
  • Pendulum effect
  • The stop after reaching the top

The rich:

For the rich people, such as the millionaires and the billionaires, financial planning essentially means the freedom to pursue new things and to live a comfortable life. These people tend to have such an enormous amount of money, that their philosophy of money and finance completely changes. These individuals tend to have a vast amount of money and so much that they are aware that they will not be able to spend it in one lifetime.

The rich are often called the ‘pajama rich’, which essentially means that they are at a position where they need not prove anything to anyone, because it is often their wealth that speaks for them.

However, despite being rich and being successful, these individuals are twice more likely to be prone to depression because of their personality traits such as creativity, open mindedness, extraversion and the propensity for risk taking behaviour, puts them at higher risk of developing ADHD, depression, bipolar disorder and substance abuse.

Answering the question, ‘Why are rich people depressed?’

We take into consideration a few reasons and phenomena that will help us answer the question, ‘why are rich people depressed?’

  • Treadmill effect:

Once the person gets enough money to fulfil his basic necessities, the extra money is often spent on gaining more material gains and more luxury items. As explained by psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo, once the person achieves what he wants and gets what he wants, he immediately thinks of ‘what next?’ this what next leads the person to buy the new expensive thing, followed by the next. This cycle thus becomes never ending. Studies show that this treadmill effect leads to lowering of well-being

Further, it is also suggested that more than the materialistic things, it is the experiences, people and doing things we love is something that brings us more happiness. 

  • More money, more isolation:

As the person possesses more wealth, he automatically moves away from people. This can happen due to competition, where the person wants to work continuously to be ahead of others, and it can be due to selfishness, where the person may not feel the need of others because he has wealth and success. 

This isolation due to lack of social connection can decrease well- being, creating grounds for depression in the rich.

  • Endless working hours:

To earn more money, the rich need to work more. This paves way for a chronic form of workaholism, which leaves them with no leisure time. The irony of the situation here is that the rich are almost never able to use the money they have earned to enjoy themselves. 

Because they do not get time to unwind and rejuvenate, they are likely to be more vulnerable to depression as mental fatigue and tiredness can increase and decrease life satisfaction.

This can also create an addictive brain. According to David Linden, addicts showed a lower level of dopamine in the brain which results in them wanting more alcohol to gain pleasure. 

People working for endless hours to gain money show similar sequence, where in their addictive biochemistry does not allow them to stop work and relax, but makes them engage in more work so that the dopamine neurotransmitters are able to make the person feel good, and this can foster depressive symptoms.

  • Pendulum effect:

The pendulum effect can be explained with the help of Newton’s first law of motion, which says that objects tend to stay in motion, unless they are stopped by an external force.

This can also be applied to the rich. Once they start climbing the ladders of success, start earning more money, it becomes impossible for them to stop unless a situation pauses this flow. Once sudden success comes, the person is motivated to continue being successful. It then becomes easier for them to continue striving for success than to slow down as a break would mean that they would lose their flow, which can push them into depression as this break can be cognitively paralysing.

  • The stop after reaching the top:

Sometimes, the rich reach at the top where it is almost impossible for anyone else to reach. Once they have climbed all the ladders and reached the top, there is nothing more they can achieve. This is where their momentum stops and although they have all the money they need, they are likely to give into alcoholism, drugs, failed relationships and no social support. This essentially means that money invites more trouble than happiness. 

What can the rich people do about these problems?

After answering the question ,’why are rich people depressed?’ We now turn our attention to the various things that the rich people do and can further do to keep depression at bay. Some of these strategies are already used by several rich people all around the world, making it a universal way of keeping depression away and also coping with it apart from seeking therapy.

  • Starting new ventures:

The main problem with the rich comes with the fact that they have greater vulnerability to sink into depression when they reach their peak and their momentum is lost. One way of steering clear of depression is to engage in new ventures. 

The rich are often seen starting new business and ventures, taking over companies and launching new brands. The reason to start new ventures is not to earn more money, but it is often to maintain a sense of progress and in order to maintain the sense of progress, they start new things to work on, which gives them a new momentum. 

The momentum triggers another pendulum effect that keeps them going ahead and then they can make sure that they do not halt.

One of the best examples could be Joan DiFuria and Stephen Goldbart, who co-founded a new venture that is; the Money, Meaning and Choices Institute. The institute gave them an opportunity to keep the momentum running. Another example could be that of Alan Shepard, the first American man in space and the fifth on moon, went on to later become a successful businessman.

  • Seeking small wins:

One of the major reasons that the people who are not very rich are likely to have lower levels of depression is because they are more likely to seek small wins on an everyday basis, which ends up creating a cycle of such smaller but significant victories.

This principle can also be applied to the rich and the millionaires. In their case, the emphasis is mainly on major breakthroughs. These major breakthroughs may not come that often, which makes the person prone to depression as the pendulum effect gets halted. One way to keep the effect going is to seek smaller victories along with major one’s so that the progress is not halted and the well-being remains unaffected. 

  • Philanthropy:

Some rich people can find and some have already found their momentum in philanthropy. Apart from the intention to give back to the society and use the money for its upliftment, philanthropy also helps the millionaires to reinforce their smaller achievements and keep the momentum. 

It also further gives them time off from the usual grind at the office and can serve as a way of rejuvenating themselves by actively engaging in social work .It can have a positive impact on their sense of well being and also reinforce their self-esteem and self-worth. 

As a final word, it can be said that as discussed, these strategies can indeed be helpful. However, it is also essential to look for signs and symptoms of depression as it can have debilitating impact on these people owing to the stress and lifestyle. Seeking therapy should always be given a preference and self-care regime has to be established. 

Frequently Asked Questions:Why Are Rich People Depressed?

Are celebrities more prone to depression?

It is suggested that rich people including celebrities, bank CEOs, politicians are prone to depression and bipolar disorder due to constant public scrutiny.

What does it mean to be prone to depression?

Being prone to depression means that the stress caused by a major event can trigger a depressive episode. This is likely to be seen more in someone who has a tendency towards developing depression.

Can you be rich and depressed?

Experts suggest that the pressure that comes with wealth and success can trigger depression and affects 1 in 10 americans. 

Does money bring happiness?

Money is not likely to bring happiness, but it is suggested that it may help to achieve some aspects of happiness. The materialistic things that are purchased can give someone happiness to a certain extent.however, real happiness comes from non-financial means.

Does wealth guarantee a good life?

Wealth alone does not provide guarantee of a good life. What matters more than a large income is how people spend it, and that giving money away makes people a lot happier than using it for themselves.

Conclusion:

Today’s blog post answered the question, ‘Why Are Rich People Depressed?’ We began with understanding the rich. This was then accompanied by a detailed understanding of the various reasons that answer the question, ‘why are rich people depressed?’ Lastly, we discussed the various strategies that the rich people apply or can further apply to keep depression at bay. 

I hope this blog post was successful in helping to provide a clear picture of the reasons for ‘why are rich people depressed?’ and also the different strategies that can help keep depression away. Please feel free to drop your comments and queries below. 

What we recommend for depression

Professional counselling

If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.

References:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-dark-reasons-so-many-rich-people-are-miserable-human-beings-2018-02-22

https://www.businessinsider.com/psychology-of-success-why-billionaires-get-depressed-2014-9?IR=T

https://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/therese-borchard-sanity-break/why-highly-successful-people-are-prone-to-depression-and-how-they-recover/

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