Hoarders Vs. Shopaholics: Similarly Motivated, But Not The Same


By: Cheryl Adelman Special to the Boca and Delray newspapers
Hoarding is the compulsive purchasing, acquiring and saving of items that have little or no value. The effects of hoarding can be emotional, physical, social, financial, and even legal
and can result in serious threats to health and safety. Hoarders believe their possessions will be useful or valuable in the future, have sentimental value, or are unique and irreplaceable.
Hoarders: to varying degrees;
• Avoid throwing things away
• Experience anxiety about discarding
• Have trouble making decisions about organizing possessions
• Feel overwhelmed or embarrassed by their possessions
• Can be suspicious of other people touching their possessions
• May have obsessive thoughts about possessions:
• – Fear of running out of an item and needing it later
• – Check the garbage to see if an item was accidentally discarded
• May experience functional impairments:
• – Loss of living space inside the home (no place to eat, sleep, or cook)
• – Social isolation
• – Family or marital problems
• – Financial difficulties
• – Health hazards
Shopaholics shop compulsively and may feel they have no control over their behavior.
Up to 6-12 percent of Americans are shopaholics and that number is likely to increase.
Psychologists call it Compulsive Buying Disorder.
There are several types:
• Compulsive; shop when they are feeling emotional distress
• Trophy; always shopping for the perfect item
• Image; Want to appear to be a big spender; love flashy items
• Bargain seekers; who purchase items they don’t need because they are on sale
• Bulimic; a vicious cycle of buying and returning
• Collectors; who don’t feel complete unless they have one item in each color or every piece of a set
7 signs of shopoholics:
1. Unopened or tagged items in your closet
2. Purchases you don’t need or didn’t plan to buy
3. Uncomfortable emotions spark an urge to shop (Compulsive shopping is an attempt to fill an emotional void)
4. A rush of excitement when you buy. (Dopamine, a brain chemical associated with pleasure, is often released in waves as you consider buying an item you like. This excitement can become addictive.)
5. Purchases are followed by feelings of remorse.
6. You try to conceal your shopping habits.
7.You feel anxious on the days you don’t shop.
The short-term effects of a shopping addiction may feel positive. However, happy feelings are often mixed with anxiety or guilt. The long-term effects may include financial problems and personal relationships may suffer and isolation may occur.
Depression and Shopping
Nearly two-thirds of all shopaholics struggle with depression or anxiety. In order to effectively treat your shopping addiction, address both aspects of your addiction: Dual Diagnosis: Substance Abuse and Shopping
Help for Hoarders:
The Shulman Center at shulmancenter.com
therapist who specialises
Help for Shopaholics:
Stopping Overshopping
Debtors Anonymous
The Shulman Center at shulmancenter.com
1-888-481-5639, to find a shopaholic recovery program
Cheryl Adelman, owner of Organize In A Day™, has worked effectively with both hoarders and shopaholics. Reach her at organizeinaday.com, organizeinaday@gmail.com