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Monday, July 12, 2010

The Repetition of Compulsive Shopping

The repetitious quality of compulsive shopping is part of the addictive process. By doing something, like shopping, over and over again with the hope of a different result is in large part why someone would repeatedly shop (till you drop) or develop credit card debt, not just once, but several times. The repetition that is involved in compulsions needs to be understood and dealt with in order to overcome a compulsion and resolve the need to re-engage in the behavioral process. It can be compared to dieting. For instance, if dieting were effective in helping someone overcome compulsive eating then the dieting industry would be out of business. Dieting only curbs the behavioral addiction to eating temporarily by focusing on the "food" rather than the "eating process". The same would be true for a budget for a compulsive spender. Incorporating a budget to get out of debt will only curb the spending temporarily by focusing on "money" rather than the "spending of money". Without looking at and trying to understand the process of compulsive spending the repetitious quality of the shopping will once again grab hold and provide the emotional glue that holds the person together. It is imperative to incorporate both behavioral change, such as a budget, as well as understanding the behavioral and emotional process of compulsions to achieve and sustain long term change.

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