How to Help a Loved One with a Shopping Addiction

There’s a thing called shopping addiction, and it can be hazardous. Most shopping addicts suffer from common symptoms, but they vary from person to person.

In all honesty, I was unaware of the existence of shopaholics until we realized that my girl cousin suffered from this mental health disorder. I had no idea that shopping could be so addictive.

Jane is 35 years old nice woman with two diplomas but without a family yet. Due to her job and her parents, she has a solid financial background. However, Jane had a serious problem with shopping. She constantly searched for clothing shops and online stores to purchase something fashionable. It was not uncommon for her to purchase a new piece of clothing three or four times a week. I am not referring to cheap, bargain dresses here.

Whenever we asked her why it was necessary to buy something unnecessary repeatedly, she said she could not stop herself from doing it. Her statement was that if she had not bought it, she would have regretted it later. It was as if she was always thinking of shopping for something.

For years we thought excessive shopping was just a fad for her that would go away. But, her compulsive spending got worse. She spent so much money on useless stuff that it would be enough for a family to live a perfect life. She even started to get into debt to calm her shopping hunger. Of course, her compulsive buying led to serious financial problems as a result. Sometimes she did not have money for the rent because she had spent it on garbage. She did not care about the potential consequences. But, she continued her shopping trips.

Perhaps it was too late, but the family realized that Jane had a serious problem. We urged her to talk about her situation, and finally, she poured her soul out. As she stated, she had tried to quit shopping but had always bought something because the only way to feel happy was to buy something.

We told her that she might suffer from a mental health condition called compulsive shopping addiction. She agreed with us that she is addicted to shopping and asked for assistance. So, the family was looking for treatment options for compulsive shoppers. Our goal was to assist her in overcoming her compulsive behavior. We put together a treatment plan.


We put together a treatment plan for Jane’s shopping addiction

  1. Previously, she had several credit cards. She could easily pick one out and shop for something. Now, she uses only cash, which provides a more accurate indication of what she spends. It is a fact that those who use cash spend less.
  2. She does not receive so many tempting offers by unsubscribing from shopping catalogs and newsletters and deregistering from online shops. Instead of focusing on them, she reroutes her attention to other topics when a compelling shopping advertisement appears.
  3. No longer does she indulge in shopping sprees.
  4. People with a shopping addiction think about their habits as a hobby. She tried various activities to substitute it. Now she goes swimming and running 3-4 times a week. Physical activities are an excellent treatment for shopping addiction. They release stress and anxiety, helping to ease the withdrawal symptoms. It is a fact that having a hobby helps to cure mental addictions.
  5. Her new preoccupation is drawing and painting, which she is very talented at.
  6. After making a long list of future plans, she decided to purchase her apartment, which would require a substantial amount of money. That can force her to save some money and prevent overspending.
  7. Initially, she did not want to get psychiatric behavioral therapy, but she finally accepted it. Fortunately, she likes it very much and finds it beneficial. Professionals can identify the triggers, feelings, dysfunctional thoughts, typical behavior, and consequences of compulsive buying disorder. She also has online therapy where she can meet with people in the same situation.
  8. She sets a budget and determines a fixed amount for personal shopping. With our assistance, she categorizes the items on her shopping list as necessities, comforts, and luxuries. As much as possible, she endeavors to minimize expenditures on luxuries and judiciously monitor the purchase of comforts.
  9. Whenever she feels the danger of relapse, she gets in touch with us with her personal support network.

We are thrilled because Jane has not relapsed. It seems that the symptoms of shopping addiction have almost disappeared. Of course, now she has more money, and Jane has started to get back into a healthy financial state. She also has more time for herself since she does not spend her time going on shopping and surfing the internet. She experiences a sense of relief now that she no longer has to worry about her addiction.

To sum up, the compulsive shopping disorder works like other addictions but is more mental than physical. We are delighted that we can help Jane overcome it.