Almost everyone shops. People watch commercials and get interested in items they want to own. People go to malls or shop online. Shopping is an acceptable activity that one can do independently or with friends and family. In fact, if you are addicted to shopping, you may not recognize you have an addiction.

How do you know if you are addicted to shopping? Many people who are addicted to shopping do not discuss when they are planning to shop and often hide their purchases. Usually they prefer to shop alone. Shopping gives them a temporary high that they believe provides a brief escape from their problems. They frequently buy items they do not even use or need. Unfortunately, a shopping addiction is unhealthy and eventually can facilitate anxiety.

Shopping addicts cannot control their spending. When a loved one becomes aware of accumulated high bills, it can result in arguments, a lack of trust and sometimes even legal consequences. People with shopping addictions frequently suffer from depression, Obsessive-compulsive disorder and other anxiety disorders.

Shopping compulsively can intensify unhealthy mental health. Your anxiety can increase if you are worrying about keeping your job, arguing about money, losing your home or paying your bills.

Recognizing that you are addicted to shopping allows you to seek the help you need. I am a licensed counselor who has been helping patients in the Philadelphia area manage and control shopping addictions.

I use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), so we can work together to help control your shopping addiction. We will talk about your problems, identify the extent of your shopping addiction and identify reasons you shop compulsively. We will devise strategies for controlling your shopping addiction that may include paying for items with cash only, destroying your credit cards, limiting your access to cash and curbing the desire to shop by engaging in other activities.

Taking steps to control your shopping addiction will help you feel healthy, happy and in control of your life. Do not let your shopping addiction destroy your life when you deserve happiness.