More threads by Gayalondiel

I was wondering if anyone here has encountered or dealt with compulsive shopping before. I've asked around a few places, and the general advice I've received on the subjec has been along the lines of managing debts and recognising and dealing with root causes that perhaps prompted the shopping problem. All of which is very well, and very valid, but doesn't really get me anywhere in understanding how to handle the problem itself. Any thoughts?

P.S. I'm sorry this is such a generalised post, I don't really have any comprehension of this subject, so I can't even begin to talk in specifics. :)


Compulsive shopping.

If you have discovered the root cause...does that not help in some way to handle the problem?
I would think that generally (not specifically) shopping addiction is a form of comforting oneself, like many other addictions are...
(I'm not an expert though, and as I said, I'm only speaking generally).
Everyone may have different triggers...

For example; I'm just using my imagination now... I think I would like to get out of the house and shop if something in the house was bothering me...

if there is anything like that, then the problem within the house could be addressed.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Compulsive shopping.

What Sammy describes is certainly part of the problem, Gayalondiel.

Generally, in treating any kind of compulsive behaviors (other than those arising from obsessive-compulsive disorder), I emphasize that one must look at both what the individual is going TO (i.e., what are the immediate rewards of the behavior for you as opposed to the longer-term costs of that behavior) and what the individual is avoiding or escaping FROM when engaging in the behavior (e.g., what tasks or worries or stresses are you postponing or avoiding when you engage in the behavior?).

While these are critical factors to understand and address, the other side of compulsive behaviors involves learning methods to resist the urges and reframe the thoughts that accompany those urges. This part basically follow the Cognitve Behavior Therapy (CBT) model: identify the conditions that trigger the urge (antecedents), then identify the thoughts that accompany the urge (what is it you tell yourself, self-talk, self-statements, like "I can't resist this urge", "if I allow myself to do this, I'll feel better", "I deserve to reward myself in this way because I have been 'good', or worked hard, or sacrificed in some ways"), and finally challenge those thoughts or self-talk statements with more realistic ones (cognitive reframing, cognitive counters).

There are several books on CBT that you may find helpful. I usually recommend David Burns book, The Feeling Good Handbook. Penguin, 1999.

Getting some help from a qualified counsellor or therapist experienced in treating compulsive behaviors and in the use of CBT is also recommended.

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