What Does Greed Have to Do with Addiction?

The connecting thread between the different addictions is that never is never enough. Not for long. As the individual with an addiction goes deeper into their addiction, they tend to seek out more and more of their drug of choice. And it doesn’t matter whether they’re addicted to a substance or a relationship, the ante for getting enough of what they crave keeps getting raised continually.

The Money High

Out of all the things an individual might be addicted to, the pursuit of wealth tops the list. Individuals who are chasing wealth can be manipulative and insensitive to the needs and feelings of other people. The quest for wealth and riches can be never ending, as the individual chases every financial opportunity to the detriment of other things in their life, just like if they were addicted to a drug or alcohol. These individuals get a release of dopamine every time they sign a deal or make a profit, and they receive the same high as people with other addictions do.

This is what is known as the money high. And it doesn’t have to do just with feelings of financial elation, but with a sort of self inoculation against feelings like depression, anxiety, guilt or shame, which stem from a much deeper belief that that individual has that they may not be good enough. Thus they need greater and greater financial success to help them sustain their illusion that they are superior, economically, to others.

Making Wealth not Spending It

One of the main characteristics of a greed addiction is that the individual is focused on acquiring and maintaining their wealth and not disbursing their fortune. This is in stark contrast with spending addicts, whose compulsion to buying material things makes them lose all their money and drive them into unmanageable debt. Individuals with a greed addiction unconsciously link their fundamental human value to their financial worth and what drives their behavior is accumulating as much wealth as possible—and then using it to acquire still more wealth. This is also why such individuals can become suicidal if they experience a reversal of fortune, because to them their fortune is their personal value.

It is clear to see that with individuals who are addicted to pursuing wealth, their overwhelming, insatiable passion isn’t about getting rich—but richer…and still richer. And it’s unquestionable that this is not a virtuous cycle but a markedly vicious one. Ultimately, what they’re looking for isn’t for wealth at all, but for love, emotional intimacy, unconditional acceptance and satisfying relationships. But the tragedy is that they don’t know it. And sadly, none of these things can be bought with money.


Addiction is a hopeless state of mind. The Villa Treatment Center can give you the gift of hope. Contact us to get started on your journey to recovery. We are here to help.