At first, the “high” of a new purchase would help her forget her stress, but Nancy found herself spending more and shopping more often. As the bills piled up, she found herself hiding her purchases from her partner, and feeling guilty, too.
We all spend too much money from time to time, but there are some clear signs of compulsive spending:
Compulsive spending has the double-edged sword of both positive and negative reinforcement. Your partner experiences positive feelings from the purchase, and also relieves the negative feelings that led to the urge to spend in the first place. This can make breaking a spending habit really difficult…but not impossible.
Common treatments for compulsive spending include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and sometimes medications, such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications. CBT can help your partner understand the motivations underlying the urge to spend money, and encourage other coping skills, such as relaxation techniques, exercise, and changing thoughts, to decrease the behavior.
Other tips for curbing compulsive spending include:
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Last reviewed: 25 Apr 2012