Spending Addiction (or Shopping Addiction, Compulsive Shopping, Compulsive Spending) is a compulsive and mood-altering behavior that involves making unnecessary, emotion-driven and negatively impactful purchases.\u00a0While not a distinct condition recognized medically in psychiatry, a Spending Addiction involves many of the symptoms, behaviors and dynamics found in disorders which are.\u00a0Overspending and overshopping is now being considered for inclusion in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Symptoms of Spending Addiction Spending Addiction is similar in many ways to Substance Disorders and Pathological Gambling\u2014both categories of medical diagnoses that involve compulsive and emotionally-driven behaviors which alter mood and cause negative consequences in one\u2019s life.\u00a0Some of the symptoms shared by these disorders and a Spending Addiction are: \tEngaging in the behaviors even when there is a desire to refrain \tMental preoccupation with the behaviors \tProgressively doing more of the behaviors \tFeeling discomfort or distress when abstaining \tHaving binges of the compulsive behavior \tHaving periods of mood alteration such as feeling \u201chigh\u201d when doing the behaviors \tFailing to meet responsibilities and obligations due to the behaviors \tContinuing the behaviors despite negative consequences Mental Health Disorders Problematic spending is common in those who have clinically significant anxiety and depression.\u00a0It can be considered a symptom of other mental health conditions such as a Depressive Disorder and other Mood Disorders such as a Bipolar Disorder as well as Anxiety Disorders, Borderline Personality Disorder, Eating Disorders and Impulse Control Disorders. In all mental health disorders in which it occurs as a symptom problematic spending or shopping is considered an impulsive, self-destructive and self-sabotaging behavior that occurs when moods become unstable and\/or anxiety levels become elevated. The Lifestyle and Coping Mechanisms of a Spending Disorder Those who have a Spending Addiction can come from any socioeconomic background or class and is common among both sexes.\u00a0Research suggests that 5-6% of both men and women may have a Spending Addiction and that all who do share common characteristics which result from the effects of a Spending Addiction and attempts to cope with it.\u00a0These lifestyle aspects, lifestyle consequences and coping efforts are similar to those found in Substance Disorders and Pathological Gambling.\u00a0These may involve: \tSecrecy, leading a \u2018double life\u2019 \tUsing \u2018thinking errors\u2019 to support the behaviors (justifying, blaming, rationalizing, for example) \tAvoiding those who confront the behavior \tAssociating with those who condone or otherwise enable the behavior \tSocial, legal, family, occupational, financial, mental , emotional and spiritual consequences \tIsolation \tA sense of powerlessness, hopelessness and helplessness \tUnmanageability \tViolating one\u2019s own ethical and moral standards \tSelf-loathing \tStrained relationships \tGuilt \tDenial \tShame \tDepression \tAnxiety \tProblems recognizing and coping with feelings \tLoss, grief and trauma resulting from the behavior Causes of Spending Addiction The causes of a Spending Addiction vary among those who are affected.\u00a0These may be related to mental health problems, trauma or efforts to cope with loss, grief or other situational stresses. Some of the causes of a Spending Addiction may be: \tAttempts to cope with a sense of emptiness \tA need for excitement \tPerfectionism \tAn inability to cope with negative feelings \tA history of deprivation \tCompulsion \tImpulsivity \tSignificant loss \tEfforts to \u2018numb\u2019 overwhelming emotional pain \tEfforts to cope with rejection or abandonment Loss of Control A spending Addiction causes a feeling of being out of control and creates unmanageability in one\u2019s life due to its negative consequences.\u00a0There is a \u2018vicious cycle\u2019 involved in a Spending Addiction in which the addiction itself creates a loss of control which increases anxiety that then leads to more problematic spending in an effort to reduce the anxiety. Some of the indicators of loss of control are: \tBuying things indiscriminately\u2014the purchased items are not as important as the act of purchasing \tBuying sprees or binges in which there is a feeling of not being able to stop \tBewilderment or remorse after making unnecessary purchases Consequences of a Spending Disorder\u00a0 The consequences of a Spending Disorder can range from mild to severe but generally progress along this continuum over time.\u00a0Mild consequences can include increased levels of anxiety and depression, increased use of credit and avoidance of other activities, neglect of responsibilities and relationship problems.\u00a0Some of the more severe consequences can include financial ruin, damaged credit, bankruptcy, criminal activity, incarceration, homelessness, divorce, unemployment and suicidality. Treatment for Spending Addiction Although Spending Addiction is not officially recognized as a medical or psychiatric disorder there are several types of treatment techniques that can address the problem.\u00a0These cover a range of modalities typically used for other mental health concerns and conditions as well for the treatment of addictions.\u00a0Effective treatment may involve individual and group counseling that targets healthier coping with anxiety, depression and poor impulse control. Family and\/or couples counseling may be used to support the Spending Addict in recovery and to address the related relationship problems caused by the addict\u2019s behavior. Medication that reduces anxiety, depression and\/or impulsivity can be effective for some.\u00a0The types and combinations of medicines are individualized to target the particular array of symptoms each affected person has.\u00a0Medications that have helped some with a Spending Disorder include anti-depressants and mood stabilizers although a medical evaluation may indicate the need for other types of medicine. Effective treatment plans may include a combination of modalities such as counseling, medication and the use of self-help groups\u00a0 Recovery Supports There are community, self-help and support groups that can address a Spending Addiction.\u00a0Typically these are based upon the structure and principles of other self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous.\u00a0These groups are free and run by its members.\u00a0There is an emphasis upon relying upon the support of the group, working with a sponsor and using the 12 Steps. \u00a0Such groups include Debtors Anonymous which specifically deals with problematic spending that leads to unsecured and unmanageable debt; and Shopaholics Anonymous and Compulsive Spenders Anonymous.