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Shopping Addiction

answered 05:11 AM EST, Thu January 03, 2013
anonymous anonymous
I am depressed and on medication. I also have massive credit card debt that I can’t possibly pay and I also have closets full of shirts I’ve never worn and book shelves groaning with so many unread books I don’t know when I will ever have time to read them all, especially since I am on Amazon all the time ordering more. I just buy stuff on impulse that I don’t really need, and I can’t seem to stop myself from doing this over and over again even though I recognize that I have a problem. What do I do? I shop as a way to feel better but it’s more complicated than only this. I am really not in control.

Rob Danzman Says...

Dear Anonymous,

To put it simply, there is a function to your behavior. To understand what purpose or function the shopping is fulfilling, I highly recommend working with a Clinical Addiction Specialist (CAS) (or equivalent in your state) who also is highly trained in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). This, combined with medication and the support of your friends and family is your best shot at over-coming this addiction.

I would anticipate seeing someone 2-3x per week for the first month and then gradually decreasing the number of sessions over the next three months. I would also encourage you to expect a significant change within about 12 months depending on 1) your commitment to counseling, 2) the underlying emotional or neurological conditions and 3) the skill and commitment of your counselor. It would be very appropriate to work with the counselor in their office as well as your home since there may be environmental variables (stuff in your home) that acts as a trigger without you realizing it.

In addition, make sure that your medication is being prescribed and evaluated by a licensed psychiatrist. Regular medical doctors do not have the training or expertise to appropriately diagnose and medicate for emotional and psychological distress. 

Best of luck.

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Page last updated Jan 18, 2013

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