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Saved 12/22/09 to Body Shoppe

POLL: Shopaholic?

Turns out 1 in 20 of us -- women and men alike -- can't control the urge to spend. Learn what drives this destructive behavior.


Is your closet overflowing with never-worn clothing, the price tags still waving in the breeze? Is your attic bulging with boxes and boxes of shoes that have never touched pavement? Do you buy new makeup weekly or compact discs by the fistful?

You might be a shopaholic.

Studies estimate that as many as 17 million Americans, better than one in 20 of us, can't control our urge to shop, even at the expense of our job, our marriage, our family and our finances.

In the land of conspicuous consumption, compulsive shopping is the smiled-upon addiction, the butt of countless sitcoms and Sunday comics, one of the few disorders that it's still OK to laugh at. Shop 'til you drop. The one who dies with the most toys wins. Heck, President Bush even called it patriotic to splurge. Where's the harm?



Real consequences

Manhattan psychologist April Benson, author of "I Shop Therefore I Am: Compulsive Buying and the Search for Self," has seen firsthand how destructive compulsive shopping can be.

"One patient of mine got fired because she was compulsively shopping on the Internet all day. There are other people who neglect their children and park them in the mall constantly because that is what they need to feed their habit. Lots of marriages break up over compulsive buying. In fact, we don't call it compulsive buying unless there is some significant impairment in some aspect of your life."

Not only is compulsive shopping tacitly condoned by our materialistic society, it is just as widely misunderstood.

For starters, according to Donald Black, M.D., a University of Iowa psychiatry professor who specializes in obsessive-compulsive disorder, compulsive shopping isn't a true compulsion at all, but instead an impulse control disorder.

"A compulsion is a behavior that is produced to counteract an upsetting thought; for example, I'm contaminated or dirty, therefore I will deal with that anxiety by washing my hands more," he says.

"There is no upsetting thought prompting compulsive shopping. It is a very pleasurable impulse, and people act on those impulses."


"Frankly, there is so little research done that I'm not sure you can talk about success rate," Black admits. "Very few people are studying this or writing about it. There are no standards for treatment, so there are no good definitions of what constitutes recovery. Is their buying down to your level or my level? Or should they abstain from shopping like they tell alcoholics? You can't do that realistically. Maybe if you go shopping, at least have someone with you so you don't go overboard."



Have you ever hidden purchases from your spouse?

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Which dress colour? Anyone getting problems with YouTube?? Sweet Message To You All Picture Game - Part II Picture Game - Part I Layout Makeup Tip Needed!
D-Lee D-Lee 6 years 22 weeks
LOL Sam! Yes, Cher, all in good fun! :hug:
Sam1985 Sam1985 6 years 23 weeks
Yes, I'm a shopholic, and I freely admit it! ;)
Cherlene Cherlene 6 years 23 weeks
Good poll Dee. But, the voting doesn't seem to match up with the comments. :shrug: I guess it is just all in good fun and that's great too! :hug: My shopping weakness - shoesss. :heart:
Iveenia Iveenia 6 years 23 weeks
oh well - i cannot afford it right now - but should i be able to - i love electronics - there is a laptop and an iPhone on my list - a bigger iPod ;), some jewels - love stones, DVDs, CDs and some work-outs ;) SANTA - WHERE ARE YOU :ROTFL: since kids are growing - kids first... c'est la vie...
saynogirl saynogirl 6 years 23 weeks
To this I have to agree! I'm in great need of buying makeup :ponder: Thinking of how to buy this... LOL Because if i'm going out to buy only this i'll return home with no money left :shrug: and many bags in hand ;-)
Nellllll Nellllll 6 years 23 weeks
Im Really Shopaholic ;) In my opinion shopping is amaziiiiiiiiiiiiiiing :heart:
saynogirl saynogirl 6 years 23 weeks
If I were free then yes! Mum puts a brake on me each time... So the "regulator" helps me for my budget quite an advantage and a disadvantage too I can't buy whatever I want! :P
D-Lee D-Lee 6 years 23 weeks
i think i may be a shoeaholic too. :OOPS: i LOVE shoes! but, i have to admit, i do shop an awful lot! :hug:
saynogirl saynogirl 6 years 23 weeks
I'm not a shopaholic but a shoeaholic ;-) I can't see heels and once I see one which I can't take eyes off them, then def i'm going to buy it :D