Hoarding Or Overspending - Addictive Money Issues

We joke about "shopping 'till you drop." But, do you know an overspender who can't go a day without shopping? She has clothes stuffed in her closet with the price tags still on? Do you know "collectors" who have so many knick-knacks there's no room to sit?

Compulsive hoarders SAVE big time - either money or things. They don't know WHY they're doing this behavior, just that they have to do it. (Definition of compulsion.) According to Brad Klontz, author of Mind Over Money, hoarding is driven by anxiety, and the accumulated objects are stand-ins for love, affection or what's missing in that person's life. (Hint: healing requires finding non-harmful ways of filling those normal human needs).

Overspenders want to feel safe, need comfort or affection and have come to believe that spending on themselves or others will fulfill those needs. "Compulsive buying is overspending on steroids." (Klontz)  They are confused about money and think that buying things will make them happy. But they're often broke and can't control their spending.

Overspending is still seen as more of a choice than a real addictive issue and the severity depends on where it sits on the addictive continuum. The root of compulsive buying, like with so many addictive behaviors are negative feelings, stress and anxiety. The illusion is that if we do the behavior or use the substance we'll feel better, and that is temporarily true, but then guilt and remorse settle in and the cycle starts all over. (Intentional JOY- LTS). Ronald J Farber, University of Minneasota, confirms that chronic buying is a response to negative feelings that give short-term gratification but cause harm to the person or others.

How does one begin to heal from these painful addictive problems? The first step is awareness there's a problem. Sometimes this is self-awareness, "I need help." Often it comes from family, work, friends.  Seek out a 12 step group (google hoarding - both online and community programs available), a professional with addiction or money coaching experience, a church group like Dave Ramsey's Peace University.  Addictive behaviors don't go away - they fester. Please get help now.