Credit card addiction: How to spot the warning signs and break the habit

With more than $40,000 in credit card debt and more than 20 credit cards to her name, Diana Ryan didn't think she had a problem -- even though her husband had no idea just how many pieces of plastic she had tucked in her wallet. "It sounds cliche," Ryan says, "but I thought I could stop at any time."

But the lure of special offers and other card deals was much stronger than Ryan's willpower. "I couldn't say no when a cashier asked if I wanted to open a new card to get an instant in-store savings or receive a new promotion," she says.

Ryan represents a growing number of Americans who've passed the point of merely overspending and have entered into the realm of addiction. And, in doing so, they're maxing out a record number of credit cards.