Last Sunday, I noticed a girl at the supermarket whose behavior was quite different. I noticed because of her unusual rush for shopping and the packets in her hand. She was standing just before me in the bill paying queue and constantly looking at the bunches of credit cards in her wallet. Finally, she paid the bill with four credit cards and left the market. This made me recall some old memories of mine and come to one conclusion. This girl is a Shopaholic and has compulsive shopping disorder. How can I tell this? Because, there was a time when I used to behave like this while shopping.

Just a few years ago, I lived a queen size lifestyle with my mom. I was total oblivion of this practical money world. For me, life was all about attending school, enjoying with friends, spending time with my best buddy at Starbucks and shop till I drop. In a word, I had all bad habits that were enough for crossing my credit card limit. Shopping made me relaxed and anxious too. Sometimes, I lied to my mom about the credit card bills and my shopping. As a result, I ended up with huge credit card bills and the biggest part of the bill was for my endless shopping.

Now, I’m feeling ashamed to declare that phase of my life. But, I feel, I should protect those Shopaholic people who are unaware of the fatal outcome of it.

However, when I got creditor’s calls and their letters, I was totally broken down and felt so guilty that I couldn’t face my mom who did so many things for me already. But I had no option, I admitted about my obsession with shopping. My mom told me - “your age is one of the reasons, but you must control your shopping obsession”. But, how?

My mom’s friend, Silvia told my mom to take me to a clinic for seeking professional help. She told my mom about the therapy that helps to recover shopping addiction. We visited the clinic on that weekend. However, no therapy was required in my case. Few counseling sessions helped me to understand the value of money and the disadvantages of living a lavish life. Apart from this, my mom helped me a lot to overcome the problem. Gradually, we paid off all credit card debts, and my mom closed all my credit cards. Surprisingly, I was happy and didn’t create any scene.

The festive season is just around the corner. I think, you must take some initiative to help your loved ones with a shopping addiction to avoid holiday debts. Let's discuss compulsive shopping disorder in details.

What is compulsive buying disorder?

Compulsive shopping disorder can be found in them who are psychologically dependent on thoughts of shopping. Many psychologists and experts around the world researched on this topic and conclude that - the powerful obsession for shopping force people to overbuy. This is known as Compulsive Buying Disorder (CBD). Sometimes, our emotion drives us to act like this (the act of buying). The emotion may arise in any form such as the feeling of tension, depression, happiness, anxiety, and stress, etc. The urge for shopping relieves us temporarily. But, once we complete the shopping, the feeling of guilt starts haunting.

Signs of a Shopaholic person

My mom was unaware of this type of disorder and she couldn’t recognize me when I was suffering from this disorder. But, after the consultation with the doctor we’ve become aware of it. If you identify this type of behavior in your loved ones, then you should talk to him/her to overcome this disorder. The signs are as follows:

  • If any person purchases things that he/she doesn't need or didn’t plan to buy.
  • Shopping due to anxiety, stress, disappointment.
  • Tends to hide the shopping from your near ones.
  • Buying all items with credit cards.
  • Feeling guilty, confused after spending money.
  • Lying about purchases.
  • Using credit cards instead of cash while buying items.

How to help someone with compulsive shopping disorder

"Addiction" isn't always treated like an acute illness (flu, chicken pox, etc.). It’s not treated as a serious behavioral disorder as well. With some efforts and tricks, it can be effectively cured. If you believe, your loved ones need your help, then these tips may help you. Have a look:

1. Talk to the person

I think, the person should be well guided by whom he/she believes or loves most. In my case, my mom played the role of a guide, friend, and a problem solver. I was lucky! More likely, maybe the person who is going through the same situation needs your help too. So, if you’re a true well-wisher, then talk to your loved ones with compulsive shopping disorder. Try to make the person realize that regardless of shopping he/she has many more things to enjoy. Show politeness and compassion to the person. He/she may confess to you about the compulsion or crisis.

2. Deliver some wisdom

While talking to the person, deliver some easy tricks that actually work. For instance,

  • Tell the Shopaholic person to make a list before entering into the supermarket.
  • Pay off all the credit card bills and destroy rest of the cards except one. Use it for emergencies only.
  • Use cash as much as possible to know where the money is going.
  • Stop shopping online.
  • Block the shopping site you shop most.

Don’t forget to explain the advantages of your tips to convince the person as well.

3. When you’re a parent of a teenager

If you’re a parent of an adolescent or teen, then you must be very careful while dealing with this matter. Think how to make your teen realize the problem. Your teen may deny about the addiction, but you must try to make him/her comfortable enough to confess it. Encourage your teen to involve in other activities such as listening to music, dancing, reading books, playing, etc. Keep your child occupied with other healthy activities to feel good and happy. Remember, a parent plays the role model for a child. If you’re a Shopaholic, then your child will surely copy you and never consider it as an addiction. So, try to make yourself engage with some good works to be a good example for your teen.

4. Consult a professional

Overcoming compulsive shopping disorder is possible. If you find your efforts aren’t just working, then don’t get disheartened. Consult a professional for help. I went to a counseling session with my mom. And it really worked for me. I talked over an hour or more with a counselor and after the counseling session I felt relaxed and got answers to my questions. There are many other treatment options available. It may take some time to recover. I’ll suggest to be patient and encourage the Shopaholic person during the phase.

Final thoughts

I and my mom always wanted to make other people know about it. That day when I saw the girl, I decided to write on this topic. Studies have shown, there are many people who just broke after the holiday season. Because, they don’t make plans for the festive season that blew away their budget. Using credit cards can only help you to meet the expenses for the time being, but you have to pay off these bills within the stipulated period unless you incur a huge amount of credit card debts. When I visited the clinic, I saw not only teens but also a number of adults who came to get rid of this compulsive shopping disorder. So, if any of your loved ones is in this problem, then help them to make the post-festive time enjoyable and stress-free.

Don’t miss out - 5 Weird steps that helped me get out of debt sooner

  • expertise badge
  • TrustLink logoTrustLink logo
  • Customer ratings on BBB
  • IAPDA logo
  • Calchamber Member
  • Calbar Registered
  • D&B
  • Trustpilot
  • yelp logo