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Suddenly Filthy Rich And Stressed

-- If you're envious of all those dot-com millionaires, think again. It may not be all it's cracked up to be. On Monday's edition of The Early Show a psychotherapist who counsels new millionaires and their families says it's not all champagne wishes and caviar dreams.

Psychotherapist Joan DiFuria helped found the Money, Meaning and Choices Institute which deals with the "problems" of, believe it or not, suddenly earning or inheriting mega bucks.

According to DiFuria, many who have gotten too rich too fast are sufferers of a disorder that very few of us can even relate to called "Sudden Wealth Syndrome." New millionaires are finding that money doesn't necessarily buy happiness and can cause added stresses and anxiety.

Some Signs of "Sudden Wealth Syndrome"

  • Do people like me for me or my money? Feelings of being uncomfortably different from friends and resentful of envy from others.

  • Could I lose it all as quickly as I made it? Guilt about having so much money and yet are afraid that the money could disappear.

  • Going on wild spending sprees.

  • Unable to make even simple decisions on how to use your new wealth.

  • Too driven to slow down to even partially enjoy new-found wealth.

  • Constant concern over safety and privacy, if too many people know how much you're really worth.

  • Sleep disorders, such as insomnia or early morning awakening.

  • Increase in feelings of depression. Feeling empty, gloomy, not enjoying ordinarily pleasurable activities.

Some Helpful Tips from the Institute

  • Recognize that you have a problem. Like the alcoholic facing his drinking problem, you must cut through your denial and own responsibility for having these problems.

  • Find ways of re-gaining a sense of control over how these issues are intruding upon your life. To accomplish this step, people must understand and remove psychological obstacles to change, learn ways of reducing stress, as well as regulating their reactivity to stressful stimuli.

  • Find balance between time and money, and between self, relationships, work, and community. For some, this may mean taking better care of themselves, exercise, relaxation, for others, it may mean paying more attention to relationships; and for others, it may mean thinking about what you can do to give something back, to become involved in philanthropy or community in an active way.

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