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Compulsive spending is a serious form of process addiction and results in feelings of guilt, shame, and loss of control just like other addictions. It also results in emotional, financial, and social consequences.

Defining shopping addiction

According to Shopaholics Anonymous, there are seven different kinds of Shopaholics:

  • Compulsive shopaholics who spend when feeling emotional distress

  • Trophy shopaholics trying to find the best item

  • Image shopaholics who like flashy items and want to be admired

  • Bargain seekers looking for a good deal, buying anything on sale even if they don't need the item

  • Bulimic shoppers who purchase items and then return them, then buy the items again and return them in a vicious cycle

  • Collectors who need every part of a set in order to feel complete


Some people become addicted to spending because of how their brain feels. While many people enjoy shopping sprees, it's considered an addiction when:

  • The shopper is spending more than they can afford

  • The spending is done when angry or depressed

  • A reason for shopping may be to assuage the guilt felt from a previous spree

  • The spending negatively affects relationships and finances

  • The person has lost control over their spending behaviour


Chabad Lifeline helps anyone affected by a shopping addiction, offering one on one support as well as group therapy for both the addict and anyone affected by the addiction.



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