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"Financial cyberchondria" can be caused by Facebook updates and Twitter Tweets.

Tweets and status updates may be the cause of your financial difficulties, according to a recent article on CreditCards.com.

"Social media can lead to developing a case of perceived financial failure," Scott Bea, a clinical psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic, told CreditCards.com. "It can also lead to a lot of financial-related stress."

Social network updates from friends who are eating out, on vacation or buying new clothes lead to a case of “financial cyberchondria.”

The term “cyberchondria” is used to describe those who have an obsessive anxiety about their health due to self-diagnosis using medical websites.

“Cyberchondria” also applies to finances and can lead consumers to misdiagnose their finances based on the perceived lives of others.

Symptoms of “financial cyberchondria” include the temptation to keep up with the “virtual Joneses,” the feeling of financial failure based on other people’s updates and an increased urge to give in to impulse purchases.

"When you read on Facebook that your college roommate just built a dream house or your former high school BFF just bought a new car, it's natural to compare your life and financial ability to do those things to your virtual friend's life," Bea told CreditCards.com.

Taking a dose of reality before reading tweets and status updates can help prevent the virtual ailment.

"You can enjoy your friend's posts, but you need to keep in mind that people typically only share information that they have chosen to share for some reason," Bill Druliner, a financial counselor and Midwest regional manager with GreenPath Debt Solutions in Milwaukee, Wis., told CreditCards.com. "Many times updates and tweets are biased towards the positives, the things that make someone look cool. They're not sharing the whole story."

EMAIL: jferguson@desnews.com

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