The Truth about Compulsive Shopping


Shoes 2

Shoes 2 (Photo credit: marcovdz)

Compulsive shopping is associated with compulsive buying behavior.  This is an impulse control disorder that affects a person’s shopping behavior.  A compulsive shopper has the tendency to feel a sudden impulse of buying something that he or she wants, without thinking of the cost or consequence.  Compulsive shopping is different from the normal buying behavior.

Most people spend money on necessities and the occasional luxury items.  However, excessive shopping is not the same as compulsive shopping.  Every person has experienced going on shopping sprees once in a while.  A compulsive shopper is preoccupied with spending money and shopping.  According to patients with compulsive buying disorders, they often experience increasing tension and anxiety.  These feelings can only be relieved when compulsive shoppers spend money.

Compulsive shopping is further aggravated during holidays such as the Christmas season and family occasions.  The need to buy something can happen anytime and anywhere.  Compulsive shoppers frequently buy consumer goods.  It doesn’t matter if the cost of the item is cheap or expensive.  Compulsive shoppers often buy in quantity.  This leads to the increase of purchases over time.  Since compulsive shoppers want to satisfy the impulsive need of shopping, they may not be aware of how much they have already spent especially those who are using credit cards.

 Characteristics of Compulsive Shoppers

According to research studies, compulsive shopping has little to do with a person’s level of education and intelligence.  Income also has nothing to do with compulsive shopping behavior.  Compulsive shoppers have little control of their buying impulses.  They have the tendency to overspend on things they don’t really need.  Aside from the money spent, compulsive shoppers also overspend time and energy while they shop even if they don’t actually buy anything.

Compulsive shopping for shopaholics is their way of coping with stress, anxiety and emotional pain.  These individuals are so obsessed with shopping that they cannot resist the urge to buy whenever they pass by malls or shopping centers.

To compulsive shoppers, purchasing random things is like an addictive drug.  Shopping gives them a special kind of thrill and the feeling of being on an emotional high.  This feeling of relief when shopping is only temporary.  The moment they start looking at their purchases or open the packaging, they feel an emotional crash.  Compulsive shoppers often feel buyer’s remorse and end up returning most of what they bought.  This causes low self-esteem and can often lead to another cycle of compulsive shopping to feel better again.

The other question is “What is hoarding?


Compulsive shopping can be avoided by seeking professional help.  Treating a compulsive shopper is more complicated than treating a drug addict or alcoholic.  Shopping cannot be totally avoided since you have to shop for necessities regularly.  Compulsive shoppers are often advised to resist temptation and start doing other activities that will take their mind off shopping.  Hobbies and sports are great ideas for distraction.  Recovery from compulsive shopping is possible with the proper guidance of professionals and other rewarding activities to occupy one’s time.

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