Confessions of Real Shopaholics

Shop ‘Til You Drop

For 6% of the U.S. population, America’s favorite pastime is a risky compulsion. Compulsive shopping, or shopping addiction, has gained mainstream acceptance as a legitimate and serious psychiatric disorder among behavioral experts in recent years. Like alcoholism or drug addiction, an addiction to shopping can mask underlying problems like depression or anxiety disorder, and the negative impact on relationships and finances can be devastating. Despite its widening acceptance though, not enough experts are ready to take shopping addiction seriously, says Terrence Shulman, the founder and director of the Shulman Center for Compulsive Theft and Spending in Detroit. “I think we’re still in the early ages of treating this,” he says. “Because everybody shops, and it’s legal and greatly encouraged, it’s often referred to as a soft addiction.” Here, MainStreet offers some cautionary tales and tips for avoiding this problem. Perhaps they’ll make you think twice before going on your next shopping spree. If you or someone you know is dealing with this problem, don’t be afraid to get help. To find support, visit Shopaholics Anonymous online. Photo Credit: Getty Images