Conscientious, literate help for the ``millions of Americans'' who suffer from money-centered addictions. ``Like food and sex,'' says therapist Boundy, ``money is a powerful psychic symbol'' as well as a common focus of cravings. Through case studies and analysis, she demonstrates here how money- -or access to it—can come to represent love, nourishment, sexual potency, unresolved childhood longings, or even ``filth.'' It can also lend itself to behavior associated with obsession, repetition, denial, moodiness, increased tolerance for bizarre outcomes, distorted thinking, lies, secrecy, and self-destruction—all the earmarks of an addictive disorder. Like food addicts, says Boundy, money addicts fall into two broad categories—overusers and self- deprivers. But variations abound, and the causes and symptoms of each variation make for fascinating reading. The compulsive ``image shopper,'' for example, is ``trying to be seen.'' The compulsive bargainer is making a power play. Some compulsive spenders are ``getting rid of their money'' the way a bulimic gets rid of food; others are consuming to the verge of unconsciousness, like gluttons. Hoarders excessively fear dependency; underearners excessively fear loss. All these sufferers, the author claims, can find help by following a 12-step program of recovery and by learning to focus on the ``right use of money'' and on ``true wealth,'' which she delineates against the backdrop of ``a money- obsessed culture.'' Credible—and potentially useful to many.
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