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Shopping Addiction

Shopping addiction is the compulsion to spend money, regardless of need or financial means. The addict may be addicted to a certain product, such as clothes or jewellery, but he or she may also buy anything from food and beauty products to stocks or real estate.

Symptoms of Shopping Addiction

A shopping addict may:
  • show an obsession with making purchases on a daily or weekly basis
  • shop to cope with stress
  • max out credit cards or opening new ones without pay off previous balances
  • feel intense euphoria or excitement after making purchases
  • buy unnecessary things or purchase items that go unused
  • steal or lie in order to continue the habit
  • feel regret or remorse over purchases but continue to shop
  • be unable to pay off debt or manage money

Types of Shopping Addiction

There are several different types of shopping addiction, and they are as follows:
  • compulsive shopaholics who shop when they are feeling emotional distress
  • trophy shopaholics who are always shopping for the perfect item
  • shopaholics who want the image of being a big spender and love flashy items
  • bargain seekers who purchase items they donít need because they are on sale
  • bulimic shoppers who get caught in a vicious cycle of buying and returning
  • collectors who donít feel complete unless they have one item in each colour or every piece of a set

Who is at risk?

For many, shopping is a pleasurable activity, as there is a reward when a purchase has been completed.  People experience a natural high when a reward is received, and in some people the pursuit of that reward can become compulsive and dangerous.  Just as addiction to drugs and other behaviours, shopping addiction drives one to compulsively seek out the reward associated with shopping.

As with many other conditions and diseases, vulnerability to addiction differs from person to person. Your genes, mental health, family and social environment can all play a role in addiction. Risk factors that increase your vulnerability include:
  • Family history of addiction
  • Abuse, neglect, or other traumatic experiences in childhood
  • Mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety


Many patients require individual sessions with an addiction specialist. Dr de Silva would conduct a comprehensive assessment and explain her conclusions to you .She would discuss the treatment options taking into consideration your views and what she considers the optimum treatment for you. Treatment would generally include medication, or individual therapy or both. Dr de Silva can also make a referral to a psychologist or psychotherapist to look the psychological aspects of the addiction as well as trying to address the underlying causes. You would be reviewed regularly by Dr de Silva to monitor your progress.

If you require more intense treatment and to be away from the familiar environment, which may be contributing to the addiction, Dr de Silva can arrange for admission to treatment centre where you would stay for the duration of their treatment. Treatment at one of the centres would usually include medication management, individual psychological sessions as well as group psychological work. There is often specific focus on understanding the nature of addiction and relapse prevention. If an admission to a treatment centre is recommended Dr de Silva would be able to help identify the most appropriate treatment centre for you.

Enquire now

Contact us now to see how Dr de Silva and her team can help with your addiction or call us for free confidential advice on 0207 1298 114

Anxiety, Addictions, Bi polar disorder, Depression, Eating Disorders, Obesity, Stress, Womenís mental health

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