Compulsive Shopping – Is It An Addiction?

English: compulsive hoarding effects

Compulsive shopping is a disorder characterised by excessive shopping. The individuals suffering from this disorder will ‘shop till they drop’ or shop until the limit of their credit cards. Mo

English: compulsive hoarding effects

English: compulsive hoarding effects (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

st of them shop because it makes them feel better and because it is an escape from loneliness, anxiety and depression.
Some of the characteristics of compulsive shopping include:
• The shopper is preoccupied with shopping. They keep thinking about shopping more times than they want to.
• They spend more time carrying out research on items they covet. They will also spend a lot of time shopping for these items.
• Most of them prefer shopping alone to avoid distraction or embarrassment.
• They suffer from financial problems due to overspending.
• Some of them hide items in the home to avoid conflicts with loved ones.
Contrary to the belief that shopping makes them feel better, compulsive shoppers usually end up feeling bad about themselves and their actions. This usually leads to depression over their lack of control over their shopping impulses. By shopping excessively, they end up in financial, relationship and/or legal problems, which makes them sad and they head out to shop and the cycle continues. Some of the most popular items bought include jewellery, clothes, shoes and household items. A huge number of compulsive shoppers are always on the look out for sales.
Fortunately, there are a number of things that can be done to reduce compulsive shopping:
• Paying via cash, debt card or check.
• Creating a shopping list and sticking to it.
• Avoiding discount houses and clearance sales.
• Getting rid of all credit cards except ones for emergency purposes only.
• Taking part in other activities such as walking and exercising when the urge to shop appears.
• Staying away from stores that will tempt them and window shopping late when the stores are closed to avoid the urge of getting into the store to buy an item.
• Shopping with a friend to help limit impulsive buying.
• Avoiding shopping after undergoing upsetting events or when feeling sad or angry.
For those whose compulsive shopping is out of control, professional help is required. There are quite a number of self help groups, such as shopaholics anonymous, that the shoppers can consider so that they can get over their compulsive behaviour. With the advancement of the internet, compulsive shoppers can also get online help from self help groups and tools that can help them.
The other option is medication. The medication will not cure compulsive shopping directly, but will focus on the underlying causes such as depression and anxiety. The other treatment option available for compulsive shoppers is cognitive behavioural techniques.
One of the most important things the compulsive shoppers need to do before they start any treatment option is to admit that they have a problem. Without this, the selected treatment will not work regardless of how effective it is in other people. They should also indicate the desire to modify the problem as this is the best way to get to the root of the problem.

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Compulsive Hoarding – Who is A Compulsive Hoarder?

Parked next to a hoarder.

Understanding compulsive hoarding is one of the basic steps a person needs to take in order to help a loved one. However, there are a number of myths surrounding the disorder, making it difficult for them to determine what

Parked next to a hoarder.

Parked next to a hoarder. (Photo credit: Aric McKeown)

is right or wrong while in the process. Some of these myths include:
• Compulsive hoarders are lazy
Compulsive hoarding is not as a result of laziness. It is caused by a number of factors ranging from psychological factors, life changing events, emotional stress, abnormal brain development and brain damage. Since it is a mental health issue, looking for therapists to help hoarders is the best solution.
• Hoarders can be helped by someone else clearing their homes.
While the intention of the family members to clear out the hoarder’s home, it is only counterproductive. The hoarders will only feel more depressed, and this will make them want to acquire and store more items. It is important for the family and friends to understand that the initiative must come from the hoarders, who need to learn how to let go of things and how to stop acquiring more items.
• Compulsive hoarding affects Middle-aged women.
The disorder can affect any person regardless of gender, age and race. Hoarding usually starts between 11 and 15 years, and if untreated can get worse. Most hoarders usually get professional help when they are older.
• Hoarders love trash.
To many hoarders, all their possessions are valuable, even when the rest of the family consider them as trash. In the hoarders’ mind, the items may be valuable at a future date or may have a sentimental value, which would get

lost if they are discarded.  Hoarders also have a problem with categorizing or organizing their possessions, even taking up living space. Some of them are overwhelmed by the clutter, and this compels them to let it accumulate to the point of abandoning the room altogether.

• Hoarders love possessions more than their money
To many people, hoarders love their possessions; however the truth is that hoarders see these possessions as an extension of their identity. It is this reason that makes them defensive every time a family member or a friend tries to discard their possessions. Sometimes, they also get embarrassed over their possessions and that is why they may not be as welcoming to friends and family as they would like. For this reason, it is important that the family and friends consider these factors before they judge their loved ones.
With these factors in mind, it is important that family and friends practice patience in dealing with the hoarders because the progress is usually slow. They should also make sure that they have involved the hoarder in decision making and decluttering process so that they do not end up re-cluttering the space all over again.
Family can also consider looking for treatment options for their loved ones. Some of these include cognitive behaviour therapy as well as the medicine. Getting into family therapy can also go a long way to help the family members understand hoarding and ways to help their loved ones.

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Choosing a Hoarding Treatment Plan That Works

English: Compulsive hoarding home entrance

Choosing a hoarding treatment plan that works is very important if you want to continue living a normal life without unnecessary things. While this will most likely cause the patient to be upset, scared, accountable and distraught, it is usually better to start the treatment as soon as possible to get the results you want […]

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Basic things you need to know about Shopping Addiction

The Shopaholics

Shopping addiction also known as compulsive shopping is an uncontrollable urge to spend more buying stuff. Different people suffer from this for different reasons. There are those who fe el the need to spend for the purpose of compensating their feelings of anxiety of depression or simply for boosting their self esteem. Shopaholics have the […]

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10 Things you should Know About a Horder

2012 Behaviour Matrix copy

A horder is a person who collects very many items but it becomes a challenge to get rid of them when the time comes. This usually leads to a lot of clutter that is created by things that the person does not need or does not even know they have. It becomes a bigger problem […]

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Finally Declutter Your Home Easily


  Several homeowners find that over the years they have accumulated items within their home that they do not need and soon they feel like they are out of living space. How can you declutter your home easily and quickly would be the first question you ask. The reality is that it probably did not […]

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Details on Hoarding Statistics


Hoarding unfortunately is a condition that affects very many individuals and some don’t even realize that they are really suffering from it. According to hoarding statistics, around 5% of the entire population in the universe displays some sort of clinical hoarding. This percentage is twice the rate of OCD and four times the rate of […]

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Understanding Compulsive Hoarding

English: Compulsive hoarding Apartment Deutsch...

Hoarding is now recognized as one of the problems that has severely affected the society. Compulsive hoarding is when a person accumulates excessive quantities of clutter. To make things clearer on how it has turned out to be a problem is that these clutters that are being accumulated by the sufferer usually use the entire […]

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Define Shopping Addiction

Window shopping at Eaton

Shopping addiction also referred to as omniomania is probably the most socially reinforced behavioral addictions. Advertisers work hard to come up with compelling ads that push people to purchase various products. Politicians on the other hand encourage citizens to spend so that the economy can grow. With consumerism taking the center place in lives of […]

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What Is Compulsive Buying Disorder (CBD)?

Compulsive buying disorder (CBD), also known as shopping disorder is the compulsion to spend money, regardless of financial means or need. While many people enjoy shopping, compulsive shopping can cause severe consequences for the addict as it is a mental health disorder. Shopping addiction may be to particular products such as jewelry, shoes or clothes, […]

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