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article imageOp-Ed: Christmas season signals the start of the 'affluenza season'

By Karen Graham     Dec 9, 2013 in Lifestyle
The flu season has started, and winter's colder weather, as well as being cooped up inside makes us more susceptible to coming down with the virus. The flu bug can spread easily, leaving its victim out of work for days at a time.
But there is a more insidious virus to watch out for this time of year, "affluenza." Authorities have combined two words, affluent and influenza in coming up with a name for this affliction. It's a seasonal bug, with most victims falling ill the day after Thanksgiving, on Black Friday, with cases being seen well up until Christmas Day.
Symptoms of the influenza virus may include fever, sore throat, headache, runny or stuffy nose and stomach upsets. Symptoms of affluenza are usually marked by deep feelings of unfulfillment, low self-esteem, depression, a loss of motivation, an inability to delay gratification, and an obsessive desire to keep-up-with-the-Joneses.
A closer look at three of our children in bed with the flu  looking suitably miserable. Thomas Muell...
A closer look at three of our children in bed with the flu, looking suitably miserable. Thomas Mueller, Feb. 29, 2008
There have been several studies done on this emotionally draining disease, and it has been discovered that the infliction has been slowly spreading around the globe, usually infecting shoppers in more developed countries the hardest. The timing of the outbreak of symptoms seems to have changed little, although it does sometimes depend on a country's holiday periods.
While people who have been ill with the influenza virus generally make a complete recovery without any ill-effects, the affluenza virus leaves victims with any of a number of long-term problems, some lasting for years. Besides weighing the victim down with profound guilt, many end up in debt, unable to pay burgeoning credit card bills or the mortgage, and some may even end up filing for bankruptcy.
Affluenza has been attributed to society's unbalanced relationship with money or the pursuit of money. There are many psychological flaws, character flaws and neurosis and other disorders usually associated with the nearness of money or the desire for money. All of these can end up helping to create a fertile breeding ground for affluenza.
To put things in a simpler light, affluenza is the assumption that money, can, and should buy happiness, for others and particularly, for ourselves. That seems to explain why this illness is showing up more often during the holiday season. Many folks feel that spending, often way beyond their means will make up for their feelings of worthlessness while making others and themselves happy.
ClickSure helps you earn money online.
ClickSure helps you earn money online.
Teadrinker (CC BY-ND 2.0)
It's important that we remember that this is not just a "rich mans disease." It crosses all lines, economic, racial and political. No one is immune to the mistaken belief that money can solve all our problems. Another aspect of this illness is the lack of acknowledgement of its existence by society in general. Those inflicted with it refuse to even talk about it, making it difficult to treat.
While many people will affect a cure by waiting until they're far enough "down," that the only way is "up," others attempt a cure by following a treatment regime recommended by the Affluenza Project. Like that first step an alcoholic must take, admitting they are an alcoholic, someone with affluenza must bring his disease out of hiding, and admit to being in the clutches of this crippling ailment.
Then, and only then do affluenza victims begin to slowly head toward the light of financial stability, when they begin to realize that money can't buy happiness or worthwhile possessions, for themselves or others. In the healing process, victims also learn to create an emotional balance between themselves and money, hopefully coming to the understanding that money does not rule them or the world.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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