Questions and Answers About Compulsive Spending and Debting
Although we joke that when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping, compulsive spending is a major psychological problem. Many people face bankruptcy and ruined lives while some embezzle money to pay their bills. Shopaholics abuse money the way alcoholics abuse alcohol. We need to stop laughing and encourage money addicts to get help.
Q: What is the difference between compulsive spending and the kind of spending most of us do?
A: My definition of compulsion is: if you can't control when you start or when you stop a behavior you have a problem. Most of us splurge occasionally, but compulsive spenders find the urge overpowering and frequent. Another common trait of shopaholics is that they buy things and never take the price tags off or wear them. Some people don't even take their purchases out of the bag. It's not about things. Spending is a way to medicate unhappiness, fear, anger and low self-esteem. It is an addiction the same as alcohol.
Q: What creates the urge to shop?
A: Conditioning, environmental triggers and beliefs. Believe it or not, many people learn to overspend. Someone close to them provides a role model of compulsive spending and shows the way. Many people go shopping when they are bored. Once they find themselves in a setting like a mall that is filled with exciting temptations, it is very easy to give in. Some people don't think of their plastic credit card as money. Like Scarlett O'Hara in