Compulsive shopping - I have a book about it in one of these boxes


The garage was stacked with thousands of dollars of merchandise still in original packaging. There were 100% cotton t-shirts studded with rhinestones (2 per package - $5.00), stacks of heavy knit sweaters in pastel colors (8.00), boxes of shoes and boots still wrapped in tissue paper ($10.00/pair). It was a yard-sale shopper's feast, distinguished by the fact that everything was new. It was also - as the niece running the sale explained - a display of her aunt's full-blown QVC shopping addiction.

How many days or nights had a probably sad and lonely woman sat in front of the television set, ordering two of these and six of those? How many UPS deliveries had arrived? What percentage of the purchases had actually been worn?

Closets of clothes with price tags still attached are one of the signs of compulsive buying. This one was hard to miss.

Much more common in women than in men, compulsive shopping often appears in a cluster of other addictions - alcohol, drugs, eating disorders. It can show itself as a symptom of depression as well as of bipolar disorder. It may also be associated with a trauma history or emotional deprivation in childhood. Like other addictions, compulsive shopping and spending initially makes a person feel better then ultimately much worse. When it comes to online addiction, what is frequently found is women shopping, men viewing pornography, and teens playing games.