DEFINITION of 'Sudden Wealth Syndrome (SWS)'
A syndrome afflicting individuals who suddenly come into large sums of money. Becoming suddenly wealthy can cause an individual stress. Its symptoms include: feeling isolated from former friends, feelings of guilt over their good fortune, and an extreme fear of losing all their money.
BREAKING DOWN 'Sudden Wealth Syndrome (SWS)'
Sudden Wealth Syndrome (SWS) is not an actual psychological diagnosis, but a term coined by therapists that deal with patients and their issues pertaining to sudden wealth. Some people with SWS won the lottery, struck it rich with stock options in the tech bubble of the late 1990s, or received large inheritances. The afflicted are dealing with an identity crisis - moving from an average working Joe to a wealthy, privileged individual.