anonymous Asks ...
My sister is a compulsive shopper. This is my term and not her label because she would deny that she has any problem at all. But when you go and look in her apartment you would know that she does, when you see the hundreds of pairs of shoes that are almost never worn and the clothes overflowing everywhere. She has serious financial problems. Credit card debt she can't get on top of and she keeps borrowing money from our parents that she never seems able to pay back, and my parents are on a fixed income and don't have a lot to spare although they will always help her. Everyone in the family agrees with me that she has a problem and she needs some help. Is an intervention an appropriate thing to try in this situation and what type of treatment should we ask her to get?
Jennifer Sartin Says ...
People who compulsively shop often meet criteria for mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, and/or impulse control disorders. I would suggest a comprehensive psychological assessment to determine the possible underlying issues surrounding the shopping. After that, the appropriate treatment can be discussed. As far as an intervention (if necessary), I would research therapists who specialize in impulse control disorders in your area and see if who offers intervention services.