Confessions of a “Recovering” Shopaholic

With all the hoopla surrounding the newly released film, Confessions of a Shopaholic, I thought it only fitting that I blog about the subject matter, especially given that 17.5 million Americans suffer from compulsive buying. Yes, myself included. While certainly not one of my better traits, I’m well on the road to recovery (as if I really had a choice in this economy?) and I thought I’d share some of the warning signs and preventative measures to help you or someone you know.

Just like alcohol and gambling for some, compulsive buying is an addiction and can be destructive to you and those around you… just ask my husband! “When it becomes repetitive and gets to the point where you’re actually craving it, that becomes a problem,” says Terrence Shulman, founder of The Shulman Center for Compulsive Theft & Spending.

Just so you’re aware, compulsive buying had its roots well before Sophie Kinsella’s chick lit novel became a best seller. In fact, the disorder was first identified by a German doctor in 1915 who referred to it as “oniomania” for the Greek term “onios,” which means “for sale.” Even the American Psychiatric Association is considering including compulsive buying in it’s updated manual of mental disorders.

With retailers’ aggressive discounting due to the disastrous economy, no wonder compulsive buying is even more prevalent than ever before. Everywhere I go it seems as if there’s a designer deal to be had. Even high-end department stores like Bergdorf Goodman are currently selling designer merch at discounts of up to 50% off…. something that was unheard of before. That, coupled with the recent trend of those time-sensitive luxury sample sale sites like and, serial shopping almost sounds justified.

Brave enough to ask yourself if you suffer from compulsive shopping behavior? Better ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have a closet filled with unworn designer duds with the tags still attached, yet still feel you have nothing to wear?
  • Does your monthly shoe allowance exceed your rent?
  • Do you return almost everything you buy? Yes, this is still a symptom of a related disorder (a.k.a. shopping bulimia).
  • When you’re feeling blue, do you seek comfort at one of the three B’s: Bloomies, Bergdorf’s or Barney’s?
  • Do you hide purchases from your significant other and lie about what you spend (sorry dad, you might want to search Mom’s closet!).
  • When you shop, do you feel a rush of euphoria mixed with feelings of anxiety?

If you answered yes to 3 or more of these questions, you likely have compulsive buying tendencies. For more information on symptoms and treatment, visit The Shulman Center For Compulsive Theft & Spending or

Do you suffer from compulsive shopping? Share your stories with the Fashion Junkie community.

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