Audio: Battling Shopping Addiction

How to get control of purchasing gone wild.

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Over the weekend, I spoke with WTOP about how to take control of shopping addiction. Compulsive shopping—not to be confused with harmless "retail therapy" after a bad day—is a serious condition that leads people to spend more money than they should and often results in major debt. To help a friend or family member suffering from it, offer to take control of their checkbook for them or participate in activities far from the shopping mall, such as soccer or knitting. In some severe cases, therapy and medication can help.

While only about 5 percent of the population suffers from shopping addiction, experts believe a far greater number, perhaps as many as 1 in 10 consumers, experience a lesser form of it that involves spending more than they really want to.