Shopping addiction treatment
Shopping addiction, which is also known as 'compulsive shopping disorder' or 'oniomania', is a socially and financially damaging psychological condition.
Priory has treatment centres located across the UK where you can seek help for shopping addiction. Treatment for shopping addiction can take place as part of our 28-day Addiction Treatment Programme, with the length and type of treatment that you receive, dependent on your unique condition and the severity of your addiction. During treatment, you will be empowered to identify any deeper psychological problems that may be influencing your behaviour, and receive support with therapy and medication if required.
While many people like to shop during time off, at weekends, or during seasonal holiday periods such as at Christmas, shopping addiction involves an overwhelming urge to shop and subsequently spend until it begins to adversely affect your life. This may include overspending and taking out several store credit cards in order to be able to purchase items, even if you may be aware that this could incur long-term financial debt.
Take our free initial addiction assessment
We understand that embarking upon shopping addiction help can be an emotionally turbulent time for you. With this in mind, Priory offers a free initial assessment with an experienced therapist at all of our addiction treatment hospitals to help you to discuss your addiction in confidence.
The compulsion to shop to excess can be seasonal or reflect an ongoing disorder, with the effect it has on your life similar to that experienced by more routinely discussed addictions such as substance abuse. Stretching beyond simply going on the occasional shopping spree, if you become addicted to shopping, you will regularly struggle to control the urge to make purchases, regardless of the requirement or use for a particular item.
Shopping addiction is considered the most socially reinforced behavioural addiction. The stigma attached to excessive drug or alcohol use in modern society doesn’t apply to compulsive shopping habits, with a consumerist lifestyle perceived as a measure of social status across much of the western world exacerbating the problem for many.
Treatment for shopping addiction
Research indicates that while the majority of compulsive shoppers will admit that they have a problem, many aren’t aware of how to get help for the behavioural disorder.
Flexible appointment times at a convenient Priory hospital or wellbeing centre near you provides access to our experts, who can assess your current shopping habits in the context of a wider assessment of your mental health. We can accurately identify any underlying psychological problems, and offer shopping addiction treatment with a combination of psychology, therapy and medication if required. The most important step is seeking initial shopping addiction help.
The type and length of shopping addiction treatment is dependent on your individual circumstances and the severity of the condition. You can be treated as an outpatient, where you will attend a Priory wellbeing centre for hourly sessions with your consultant, psychologist or therapist.
In more severe cases, you may require a more structured treatment approach which can include staying as an inpatient at one of our Priory hospitals for the duration of your treatment, where you can take part in a psychological group programme as well as receive regular sessions with your consultant.
Therapy and medication treatment
Depending on the bespoke treatment plan you have been provided for shopping addiction, there are a wide range of therapeutic and medication based treatment options that can help relieve you of your compulsion to shop.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) - the action-oriented approach of CBT involves working with your therapist to better understand how shopping addiction has impacted your life, and how your emotions, thoughts and behaviours are contributing towards the urge to shop excessively. This can also be conducted in a group setting, where other people going through the same issues as you provide a reassuring support network as you learn how to control compulsive urges.
Taking part in CBT sessions will enable you to learn more positive coping techniques and alternative methods for receiving the same pleasurable effects that shopping gives you, without being detrimental to you everyday life.
Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) - due to shopping addiction directly linking your thoughts to subsequent repeated behaviours, DBT aims to help you manage compulsive urges to shop by incorporating a mixture of group-based skills training and individual therapy involving mindfulness and emotional regulation as methods you can use to resist the temptation to purchase.
Medication - as shopping addiction can involve co-occurring mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression as part of a dual diagnosis, medication may be required to relieve the symptoms of these conditions first and foremost, which can have a beneficial effect on compulsive shopping behaviours.
If it is found that another mental health condition may be causing you to shop excessively as a coping mechanism, then you may be prescribed antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication.
12-Step Addiction Treatment Programme - for severe shopping addiction diagnoses which don’t respond to therapy or medication-based treatment programmes, our 12-Step Addiction Treatment Programme can provide you with the necessary tools to live as a recovering addict.
This can help prevent relapse after treatment, relying on the support of others sharing the same experience as you work towards managing your compulsive urges, as well as other aspects of your life which may have been affected during your addiction, such as your finances and relationships.
For more information on the treatment that we offer for shopping addiction, please visit our approach to addiction treatment page.
This page was reviewed by Stephanie Chick (FDAP) in July 2018, and is scheduled to be reviewed again in July 2020. To view all Priory shopping addiction specialists, please click here.