Treatment for Shopping Addiction
Covering the different types of treatment for shopping addiction, including shopping addiction therapy, and where to get shopping addiction help.
If you or a family member have a problem with overspending or over-shopping, it's important to seek professional shopping addiction help. Getting a psychological evaluation is a good first step. (Wondering if you are a shopping addict?
Shopping Addiction Therapy
For treatment of a shopping addiction, therapists use cognitive-behavioral therapy to help the person recognize and change their behaviors. Some compulsive shoppers may learn to limit their shopping and for the most severe patients, the therapist may recommend that someone else control their finances altogether.
It's not unusual for addicts, in general, to have co-existing psychiatric disorders, such as depression. Antidepressant medication may be considered as a treatment.
There are also 12-step programs for support, like Debtors Anonymous and Shopaholics Anonymous. And many compulsive spenders run up of tens of thousands of dollars in bills, so credit counseling is also helpful.
Behavior Changes Important Step in Shopping Addiction Treatment
In discussing shopping addiction treatment, psychiatrist, Dr. Donald Black, recommends some basic changes in behavior that will have a big impact on breaking a shopping addiction:
- Admit that you are a compulsive spender, which is half the battle
- Get rid of checkbooks and credit cards, which fuel the problem
- Don't shop by yourself because most compulsive shoppers shop alone and if you are with someone you are much less likely to be spend
- Find other meaningful ways to spend time
Terrence Shulman, head of the Shulman Center for Compulsive Theft and Spending has some additional suggestions on his website:
- Reduce temptations
- Make lists before going to the store; buy what you need only - call folks, take a trusted friend
- Wait so many hours before purchase
- Do you need this or do you just want it?
- Develop other ways to handle emotions
- Develop fun things to do
- Learn to ride through urges and preoccupations
- Develop habits in stores
And keep in mind that while behavior change is clearly crucial to treatment and recovery from a shopping addiction, so is reaching out for help.
- Donald Black, MD, professor of psychiatry at the University of Iowa College of Medicine
- Terrence Shulman, LMSW, ACSW, The Shulman Center for Compulsive Theft and Spending
Last Updated: 21 June 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD