Self-Help Groups For Shopping Addiction

Get Support for Overspending

Looking for a self-help group for shopping addiction? Surrounding yourself with a community of people who have shared the same or similar experiences can be extremely helpful. Like most problems in life, it can help to talk to others who know exactly what you’re dealing with because they’ve been there, too. Through support group work, a compulsive shopper can gain a new perspective on his or her addiction. In addition, a self-help group for shopping addiction can help you to:

  • Identify and sidestep emotional triggers  
  • Develop a network of nonjudgemental people 
  • Avoid feeling isolated or helpless
  • Talk openly about your experiences and feelings
  • Relieve stress, anxiety and depression
  • Gain a better understand addiction as a disease 
  • Find resources for treatment

Here, we take a look at the variety of self-help groups for people grappling with shopping addiction as well as for their families and friends. Take a look and find one that's right for you, whether you prefer to join an online support group or supplement the support you get at in-person meetings with online meetings.

Debtors Anonymous

Health Insurance Changes. Credit: Boston Globe / Contributor / Getty Images

Debtors Anonymous was first started in 1968, when a group of recovering members from Alcoholics Anonymous began discussing their financial problems. Today, the group has more than 500 registered meetings in more than 15 countries worldwide, where you can share your struggles and help others who are overcoming overspending. According to its website, "its purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience with the newcomer, and to reach out to other debtors." 

Spenders Anonymous

US-Economy-Shopping-Holiday-Black Friday. Credit: Paul J. Richards / Staff / Getty Images

Spenders Anonymous is a 12-step group based on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous, however there's no organizational affiliation between the two groups. The group strives to help shopping addicts stop spending compulsively, take responsibility for their money and spread the message of recovery to other compulsive spenders. The only requirement for membership is "a desire to stop spending time, money, energy and our very selves beyond all reason," according to its website.  

Online Resources for Compulsive Shopping

A shopper in a Makro superstore or hypermart, pushes her large shopping cart. Credit: Peter Charlesworth / Contributor / Getty Images

There are many online support groups designed for compulsive shoppers, including Stopping Overshopping. Founded by April Lane Benson, PhD, a nationally known psychologist who specializes in the treatment of compulsive buying disorder, the website provides online resources for self-help.

Signs of Shopping Addiction

Shopaholic Heather Hall Loses Six Stones With Retail Therapy. Credit: Barcroft / Contributor / Getty Images

Everyone overspends now and again, but only about 6% of the U.S. population is thought to have a true shopping addiction. The disorder typically begins in the late teens or early adulthood, and often co-occurs with other disorders, including mood and anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, eating disorders, other impulse control disorders, and personality disorders.

If you’re wondering whether you or a loved one’s shopping is out-of-hand, start by asking yourself these questions:

Do you:

  • Frequently binge shop?
  • Can't help but spend all or part of any money you have?
  • Experience a strong urge to buy?
  • Use “retail therapy” to deal with stress?
  • Feel disappointment, stress and guilt after shopping?
  • Hide purchases for fear others will think what you’ve bought is irrational?
  • Respond to direct mail offers?
  • Buy things you don’t need even though you cannot afford them?

Continue Reading