Self-Help Groups for Shopping Addiction

Looking for a self-help group for shopping addiction? Surrounding yourself with a community of people who have shared the same or similar experiences can be extremely helpful. Like most problems in life, it can help to talk to others who know exactly what you’re dealing with because they’ve been there, too.

If you're a compulsive shopper, through support group work, you can gain a new perspective on your addiction.

Signs of Shopping Addiction

Everyone overspends now and again, but between six to seven percent of the U.S. population is thought to have a true shopping addiction. The disorder typically begins in the late teens or early adulthood, and often co-occurs with other disorders, including mood and anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, eating disorders, other impulse control disorders, and personality disorders.

If you’re wondering whether you or a loved one’s shopping is out-of-hand, start by asking yourself these questions. Do you:

  • Frequently binge shop?
  • Spend all or part of any money you have?
  • Experience a strong urge to buy?
  • Use “retail therapy” to deal with stress?
  • Feel disappointment, stress, and guilt after shopping?
  • Hide purchases for fear others will think what you’ve bought is irrational?
  • Respond to direct mail offers?
  • Buy things you don’t need even though you can't afford them?

If the answer is yes to the majority of these questions, you may have a compulsive buying disorder.

How a Self-Help Group Can Help

A self-help group for shopping addiction can help you to:

  • Identify and sidestep emotional triggers 
  • Develop a network of nonjudgemental people 
  • Avoid feeling isolated or helpless
  • Talk openly about your experiences and feelings
  • Relieve stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Gain a better understand addiction as a disease 
  • Find resources for treatment

Here, we take a look at the variety of self-help groups for people grappling with compulsive buying disorder, as well as for their families and friends. Take a look and find one that's right for you, whether you prefer to join an online support group or supplement the support you get at in-person meetings with online meetings.


Debtors Anonymous

Woman looking at bills and receipts on floor

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Debtors Anonymous was first started in 1968 when a group of recovering members from Alcoholics Anonymous began discussing their financial problems. Today, the group has more than 500 registered meetings in more than 15 countries worldwide, where you can share your struggles and help others who are overcoming overspending.

According to its website, "its purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience with the newcomer, and to reach out to other debtors."


Spenders Anonymous

Spenders Anonymous is a 12-step group based on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous; however, there is no organizational affiliation between the two groups.

Spenders Anonymous strives to help shopping addicts stop spending compulsively, take responsibility for their money, and spread the message of recovery to other compulsive spenders.

The only requirement for membership is "a desire to stop spending time, money, energy and our very selves beyond all reason," according to its website.


Online Resources for Compulsive Shopping

There are many online support groups and resources designed for compulsive shoppers, including Stopping Overshopping. Founded by April Lane Benson, Ph.D., a nationally known psychologist who specializes in the treatment of compulsive buying disorder, the website provides online resources for self-help.

Shopping Addiction Support Group is an online support group with nearly 30,000 members where you can post about whatever you're dealing with and get sympathy and advice. Another online support group is a registered Debtors Anonymous group called ​SpendersDA.

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Article Sources

  • Müller A, Mitchell JE, de Zwaan M. Compulsive Buying. The American Journal on Addictions. March 2015;24(2):132–137. doi:10.1111/ajad.12111.
  • Spenders Anonymous. Updated January 2014.