5 Signs of a Shopaholic

Spending Causes Relationship Problems

Compulsive spenders often have problems in personal relationships as well as financial issues. A study published by the World Psychiatric Association found that nearly 70 percent of compulsive shoppers admitted that their behavior caused problems in their relationships [source: Black].

How can a routine task such as shopping ruin marriages, friendships, even careers? First, there's only so much time in one day. Shopping consumes a lot of time for people with compulsive buying disorder. It's not a hobby; it's an uncontrollable, irresistible urge. CBD sufferers spend an inappropriate amount of time being preoccupied with all aspects of the shopping experience -- whether it's time spent tracking bargains or engaging in shopping itself, it's time that's not spent with family and friends, or on the job, and that growing distance may begin to take a toll on intimacy in relationships.

But it's not just a shopaholic's absenteeism that causes trouble. Money is the number-one source of stress in a marriage, and if you're going to fight with your partner, it's probably going to be about spending habits and debt [source: Schmitz]. The best way to deal with financial issues in a relationship is to face them, together, head on, with open communication. But one of the symptoms of compulsive buying disorder is the need to hide what's happening, either hiding how deep the debt has become, the purchases or both. The secrecy can cause (or deepen) rifts in the relationship and damage trust when discovered.

Related Articles

More Great Links


  • Black, Donald W.; Shaw, Martha; Nancee Blum. "Pathological gambling and compulsive buying: do they fall within an obsessive-compulsive spectrum?" Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience. Vol. 12, no. 2. Pages 175-185. 2010. (Dec. 16, 2011) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181956/
  • Bryner, Jeanna. "The Truth About Shopaholics." LiveScience. 2008. (Dec. 16, 2011) http://www.livescience.com/2338-truth-shopaholics.html
  • Burleigh, Nina. "Tammy Fay Messner Dies at Age 65." People. 2007. (Dec. 16, 2011) http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20047652,00.html
  • Cho, Hyun; Kwan, Ji-hyun; Hyun-jin Seo. "Compulsive Shopping in Parkinson's Disease -- A Case Report." Journal of Movement Disorders. Vol 1., no. 2. Pages 97-100. 2008. (Dec. 16, 2011) http://www.e-jmd.org/journal/files/0102097100.pdf
  • Curry, Pat. "Compulsive shopping disorder: It's no joke." Bankrate.com. 2006. (Dec. 16, 2011) http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/pf/20060919a1.asp
  • Diamond, Marie. "The Return of Debtor's Prisons: Thousands of Americans Jailed For Not Paying Their Bills." ThinkProgress. 2011. (Dec. 16, 2011) http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2011/12/13/388303/the-return-of-debtors-prisons-thousands-of-americans-jailed-for-not-paying-their-bills/
  • Hatfield, Heather. "Shopping Spree, or Addiction?" WebMD. 2004. (Dec. 16, 2011) http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/shopping-spree-addiction
  • Kaplan, Arline. "National Survey Shows High Prevalence of Impulse Control Disorders." Psychiatric Times. Vol. 22, no. 13. 2005. (Dec. 16, 2011) http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/clinical-scales/display/article/10168/52696
  • Koran, Lorrin M.; Faber, Ronald J.; Aboujaoude, Elias; Large, Michael D.; Richard T. Serpe. "Estimated Prevalence of Compulsive Buying Behavior in the United States." The American Journal of Psychiatry. Vol. 163, no. 10. Pages 1806-1812. 2006. (Dec. 16, 2011) http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?Volume=163&page=1806&journalID=13#Q926T2
  • Kuzma, John M.; Donald W. Black. "Compulsive shopping: When spending begins to consume the consumer." The Journal of Family Practice. Vol. 5, no. 7. 2006. (Dec. 16, 2011) http://www.jfponline.com/Pages.asp?AID=4266
  • Louden, Kathleen; Laurie Barclay. "Dopaminergic Therapy for Parkinson's Disease Raises Risk for Impulse Control Disorders." Medscape Medical News. 2008. (Dec. 16, 2011) http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/576691
  • MacDonald, Jay. "You might be a shopaholic if ...." Bankrate.com. 2003. (Dec. 16, 2011) http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/advice/20030314a1.asp
  • Ploskin, Daniel. "What Are Impulse Control Disorders?" Psych Central. 2007. (Dec. 16, 2011) http://psychcentral.com/lib/2007/what-are-impulse-control-disorders/
  • Psychology Today. "Consumer Behavior." (Dec. 16, 2011) http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/consumer-behavior
  • Schmitz, Charles D.; Elizabeth A. Schmitz. "Building Great Marriages." Psychology Today. 2011. (Dec. 16, 2011) http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/building-great-marriages/201107/most-marital-arguments-center-around-finances
  • Shulman, Terrence Daryl. "Compulsive Theft and Spending: The Hidden Epidemics." Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association." 2010. (Dec. 16, 2011) http://www.annalsofpsychotherapy.com/articles/news/116/15/Compulsive-Theft-and-Spending-The-Hidden-Epidemics
  • Stoneham, Laurie. "Dropping from Shopping: When Buying Gets Out of Hand." Psych Central. 2006. (Dec. 16, 2011) http://psychcentral.com/lib/2006/dropping-from-shopping-when-buying-gets-out-of-hand/all/1/
  • U.S. News & World Report. "Are you in over your head?" (Dec. 16, 2011) http://www.usnews.com/usnews/biztech/tools/modebtratio.htm
  • Woolsey, Ben; Matt Schulz. "Credit card statistics, industry facts, debt statistics." CreditCards.com. 2011. (Dec. 16, 2011) http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/credit-card-industry-facts-personal-debt-statistics-1276.php


Opioids vs. Crack: The Politics of Race and Addiction

Opioids vs. Crack: The Politics of Race and Addiction

HowStuffWorks looks at the language and treatment around today's opioid addiction versus the crack cocaine addiction of the '80s and '90s.