Targeted Advertising as a Gateway to Psychosis

 I feel the effect advertising has on mental illness is grossly understated. I am prone to overspending and impulse buying during manic episodes, and it feels like my attention span has been commodified. Ads are so pervasive on the internet that I get duped into spending money without realizing it. I accidentally spent $107 on a Google Cloud platform by signing up for a free trial. Another $60 went to Facebook advertising platforms during a delusion of grandeur.

Do you think the tech and media companies should be held responsible for this? I'm struggling to articulate my whole thought, but it feels like my susceptibility to advertising is being exploited. It's not the advertisers, but the ad serving companies acting in a predatory manner.

In response to Lucas Neumann:

"I appreciate that you wrote this article. I was recently diagnosed schizoaffective, and I am extremely susceptible to predatory advertising techniques. Often, I fall victim to these ads because I get the cause and effect mixed up from my disorganized thinking. It's frustrating that in a delusional state of mind I may believe an ad was "meant" to be served with me, and that making the purchase or signing up for the trial will solve my problems.

These ads very frequently cost me time, money, and most importantly, attention. I would be happy to share in greater detail."

A checklist for behavioral design | by Lucas Neumann | Feb, 2021 | UX Collective (


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