Could You Or Someone You Love Be A Shopaholic with a Compulsive Spending Problem?

Clinical psychologist Janet Hall reveals Compulsive Buying Disorder symptoms

  • Also include accumulating debt, using shopping to escape negative feeling
  • Shopaholics often have an underlying disorder, like anxiety or depression
  • Recommends replacing shopping with something healthy like meditation

Everyone knows the thrill of the feel of a new dress, the excitement of a fresh pair of boots for autumn, the first smack of a recently purchased lip gloss.

But for some the thrill of shopping can be all consuming, even life ruining.

Many have joked from time to time that they’re addicted to spending, but one in 12 Australians are actually shopaholics.

Australian clinical psychologist Dr Janet Hall appeared on the Today show on Wednesday to reveal the symptoms of Compulsive Buying Disorder, also known as onomania.


Dr Hall revealed that the CBD is ‘not necessarily’ a psychological disorder on its own, but is reflective of an ‘underlying disorder’.

‘Usually anxiety, anger management, depression or low self-esteem,’ she said. ‘But it is a real compulsion.’

Dr Hall noted that many people with CBD hide their purchases from their loved ones and use multiple credit cards to buy things.

‘They use the shopping as a way of being somebody they’re not,’ she said. ‘They get their sense of power out of it.’

This is easier than ever in today’s age of online shopping, where people with a credit card can buy things 24/7 without their loved ones having a clue.

‘No one will know that you’ve done that,’ Dr Hall said, ‘That you’ve blown all that money.’

Dr Hall noted that many people with CBD hide their purchases from their loved ones and use multiple credit cards to buy things

‘And you have a real sense of, momentarily, I am the powerful one, I have chosen this and I’ll have as many as I want.’

‘Often they don’t even need these things and they may already have a lot of them.’

Additional symptoms of CBD include accumulating debit, a breakdown in your relationships and using shopping to to escape negative feelings.

‘They are definitely compensating for their anxieties and depressions, and when they try to stop they can’t,’ Dr Hall said.

But how can you tell the difference between someone who enjoys shopping to someone who actually has a problem?

Symptoms of CBD include accumulating debit, a breakdown in relationships and using shopping to to escape negative feelings

Dr Hall revealed that it’s the consequences that come afterward that can reveal if someone actually has a condition.

‘Serious consequences are you’re in so much debt you can’t even pay your bills, and people are telling you that you need real support and real counselling,’ she said.

Dr Hall said the first step to treating CBD is owning up to the fact that you’re a shopaholic and identifying what triggers it.

‘What is it that pushes you to want to go shop? What are the needs you’re seeking to be filled,’ Dr Hall said.

‘Do you need some companionship, do you need a massage, do you need some loving touch, do you need some rest and relaxation?’

Dr Hall recommends replacing shopping with something healthier, like meditation or exercise, as well as getting support.

‘Financially, you need someone who knows what to do and minimise your debts, and you need someone who loves and cares for you but will make you be accountable.’


Compulsive Buying Disorder is often seen with mood, anxiety or eating disorders, as well as substance abuse.

It often appears in the late teens or early twenties, and is usually chronic.

Symptoms include:

-Accumulating Debt

-Hiding purchases from loved one

-Breakdowns in relationships between friends and family

-Compensating for negative feelings by buying things

-Trying to stop shopping but unable to
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By Anneta Konstantinides For Daily Mail Australia

Published: 3 May 2017

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