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Spending addiction, also known as shopping addiction or compulsive buying behaviour, refers to a strong obsessive-compulsive desire to spend more than one can afford.

People struggling with spending addiction tend to spend beyond their financial means, often on non-essential things. The feelings of pleasure and exhilaration they experience after making a purchase is sometimes followed by guilt and regret. Nevertheless, they frequently think about their next purchase after fondly remembering their last shopping experience. The habit of compulsive buying tends to affect more females than males.



  • Intense euphoria after a shopping or buying spree

  • Spending money to cope with stress ("retail therapy")

  • Strong urge to buy things, although the items are non-essential or will likely be unused

  • Spending without thinking about what or why there is a need to buy

  • Desire to buy an item increases when a friend has it

  • Feeling ashamed over the spoils of shopping and hiding them to avoid being judged

  • Feeling guilty after spending compulsively, but is unable to stop

  • Running out of money or getting into financial debt due to spending habits

A person struggling with spending addiction often sees the behaviour as a form of stress relief or escape. Even though many consider it harmless, the habit can spiral downwards and often has a ripple effect that leads to debts, financial struggles, strained relationships and diminished self-esteem. In such cases, seeking professional help and learning practical handles is beneficial for recovery.

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