Signs Of Compulsive Spending

Suspect yourself or a loved one could be a shopaholic? While it might sound far-fetched, compulsive shopping disorder is a very real issue. In fact, it's often associated with mental issues like addictive disorder, impulse-control disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. And while it's sometimes labeled anseemingly innocent quirk, compulsive shopping can significantly cut into your budget and lead to serious financial strain. Let's break down exactly what a compulsive shopper is, the telltale signs, and explore some potential remedies.

A long-established issue

While not officially categorized as a mental illness, compulsive spending has been recognized by the field of psychology for over a century, ever since German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin first identified it in the early 1900s. Then in 2007, World Psychiatry pinpointed compulsive spending as a result of anxiety, mood, substance use, and impulsive behaviors, like compulsive eating. What's more, the publication found that compulsive spending affects nearly 6 percent of all Americans. It's no minor issue and comes with a range of telltale signs.

Browsing while sad

Have a loved one going through a difficult time? Well, if you notice them shopping online extensively, even in the middle of the night, then there's a good chance they could be spending unnecessarily. Often, compulsive shoppers are spurred into action by intense emotions like depression and anxiety.

Preoccupation with unnecessary shopping

Oftentimes, compulsive spenders will purchase items they have absolutely no need for. For example, if someone goes to the store to purchase a few things, only to return with bags of items they hadn't planned on buying, that could be a true telltale sign.

The lies begin

No matter how strong relationships are, extreme emotions can push people to act out in ways they normally wouldn't. Does your spouse have a whole rack of unworn clothes with the tags still on? Perhaps they never told you about the new clothes or straight-up denied shopping? This is the sort of dishonesty that can arise as a compulsive shopping addiction worsens.