Dear Barb – Follow up on shopping addiction

Dear Readers, I wrote a column last month about shopping addiction. As a result, I received the following email from April Lane Benson, Ph.D. She offers some excellent advice and treatment options for this condition. If you or someone you know is struggling with this addiction, April’s Website is well worth checking out.

Here is the original question from Elisa.

Dear Barb: I think I might have a problem. I’ve always enjoyed shopping, but recently I’ve been spending more than I can afford. My shopping seems to be getting out of hand. I used to be able to pay off my credit card balances every month. Now I am leaving big balances on my credit cards and sometimes I have to transfer balances from one credit card to another. I am a single woman who lives on my own, but I have a feeling my parents are becoming aware of my problem, as I’ve had to borrow money from them. I’m scared of where I will end up if I keep going like this. I know I need help, but I’m not sure where to turn. Can you help point me in the right direction?

Elisa in Chatham

Here is the email I received from April Lane Benson.

Dear Barb,

I came across your column and the very good advice that you gave to the over-shopper that wrote to you. I wanted to let you know about my website http://www.stoppingovershopping.com as a place for people with this problem to go. I am a New York based psychologist and editor of the book, I shop, Therefore I am: Compulsive Buying and the Search for Self (2000). I specialize in working with people with this problem and I’ve developed a group treatment program. I am in the process of developing a self-help program for people to use on their own.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can be of any help. I hope you’ll let your readers know about the website and about the type of services that I offer.

Warm regards,

April Lane Benson, Ph.D.

Besson notes that signs of shopping addiction include shopping to cure the blues, spending more than you can afford, hiding purchases, and feeling guilty about shopping. Treatment options include drugs, counseling (group or individual), or programs, such as Debtors Anonymous, which specifically address the problem of shopping addition. For more information, visit Benson’s site.

Are you codependent? Watch next week’s column for more info on this topic!

References
Benson, A.L. (Ed.) (2000). I shop, therefore I am: Compulsive buying and the search for self. Jason Aronson Publisher.
Stopping Overshopping – http://www.stoppingovershopping.com/

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