Contact Us
Make My Homepage

Do You Shop When You’re Sad? [AUDIO]


Dan Kitwood, Getty Images

It’s not unusual. But, for 10 percent of the population, that shopping becomes an addiction in an attempt to fill a void of sadness, loneliness and emptiness.

While a majority of shopping addicts are women, the internet has led to a growing number of men suffering with the addiction.

“There are various reasons why people get into excessive behavior. We do know that sadness, loneliness, unresolved grief and loss and filling a void is a very common way in which people can gravitate to almost any kind of addiction,” said Terrence Shulman, founder and director of The Shulman Center for Compulsive Theft, Spending and Hoarding. “Nowadays, you don’t have to go to the store when you’re lonely or sad. You can turn on your tv or computer and shop right from your home.”

“What people basically are looking to do is to change the way they’re feeling inside. They’re trying to alter their mood and they think if they make certain purchases that it will lift their spirits or it will anchor them and they will have things that are tangible. But, what they find is that when the items are delivered, they’re often not even interested in opening the boxes,” said Dr. Harris Stratyner, Vice President of Caron Treatment Center.

How do you know when your shopping has crossed the line into an addiction?

“You’re looking for negative consequences. If you’re having problems paying bills, if you have debt, if you’re buying things you’re not even using, hoarding, cluttering, if you’re losing lost time and energy because you’re spending so much time shopping, you may have a problem,” said Shulman. “If there is any kind of secrecy where you’re having to hide what you’re doing, if you feel like you’re living a double life, if it’s affecting your sleep and eating habits, these are the kinds of things we often see.”

There is help available.

“Sometimes you can reveal the root of what’s causing the addiction, but the behavior is still there. I try to get people to change the way they think. With shopping addictions, purchasing items and owning things isn’t going to make them feel better. I literally restructure the way they think which interferes with the negative behavior and then, by not acting on that negative behavior, they reinforce new ways of thinking,” said Dr. Stratyner.

“It’s always about more than just the stuff,” said Shulman.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Best of NJ101.5

Recommended For You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for New Jersey Insiders quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive New Jersey Insiders contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.