How to Stop Compulsive Shopping

Shopping is a popular activity for man, but when it becomes excessive, there's a problem. Compulsive shopping is an addiction, just like drugs or gambling. As a disorder affecting more women than men, experts have found that shopaholics have a similar surge in brain chemicals before shopping that alcoholics do before drinking. Compulsive shoppers might have numerous items at home that still have price tags on them. It's not the item purchased, but the desire to rid themselves of depression and anxiety that drives this compulsive disorder. Shopaholics need help in knowing how to stop compulsive shopping.


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    Pay with cash only. Credit cards can be like play money for compulsive shoppers.
    • Cut up credit cards.
    • Operate on a cash-only basis to keep compulsive spending from getting out of control.
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    Make a shopping list before shopping.
    • Don't buy anything not on this list.
    • If you see something not on the list that you think you need, wait 24 hours before buying it to let the impulse die down.
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    Avoid shopping triggers. For some it's the shopping mall and others have the discount warehouses.
    • A new breed of shopaholic may be addicted to Internet shopping (eBay, Amazon, etc.) or TV shopping channels. If the Internet or television causes you to lose control, have these websites and channels blocked.
    • If specific people are a trigger for shopaholism, avoid them.
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    Plan to "window shop" after stores have closed or leave your wallet and checkbook at home as an alternative to "real shopping."
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    Substitute other behaviors when the urge for compulsive buying begins beckoning you.
    • Take a walk or a bath.
    • Do something creative or volunteer somewhere.
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    Manage difficult emotions without resorting to compulsive shopping as a distraction.
    • Explore what's going on in your life that has you in an emotional upheaval.
    • Is shopping helping or actually making the emotions worse?
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    Call a friend you can trust or others who will support you without judging. Right now is a time for unconditional love.
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    Seek professional counseling either individually or in a group. Many addiction programs offer self-help group therapy for the addictive personality.


  • Not getting help for a shopping addiction can lead to major financial problems and a breakdown in your personal relationships as you try to hide the problem.
  • Compulsive shopping can go along with other problems, including alcoholism, eating disorders and depression.
  • While some addictions require abstinence, it's difficult to totally abstain from shopping.

Article Info

Categories: Shopping