SHOPAHOLICS ANONYMOUS UK

Shopaholics Anonymous UK

 Compulsive shopping, shopping addictions, or compulsive buying disorders are part of a recognised set of mental health addiction disorders and should not be taken lightly.

There are a number organisations and programs both in the UK and globally that can help with treatment for addictive behaviours, but there is no dedicated shopaholics anonymous the same way that we have Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous and Overeaters Anonymous.

In the UK, our default reaction when we need to address any health issue is to look to the NHS, and whilst they do provide mental health services, their resources are massively overstretched so finding timely and dedicated treatment for shopping addiction might be something that is better addressed via an alternative route.

The good news is that there are a great many organisations to choose from when it comes to treating “oniomania” (shopaholicism), many of them are limited by the budget you have available to spend on them, but that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the line if your credit cards are already maxed out with all those shopping sprees.

Check out my post on 29 Tips for the Recovering Shopaholic if you are still on the fence as the whether your slightly out of control spending habits are bad enough to classify as an addiction just yet. However, the very fact that you are looking for this information means that you want help, so whatever name you want to give it – high five for getting it sorted!

If you just want some UK based support then read on…

Shopping addiction

Shopping habits are generally not seen as something that has the potential to create addiction but it’s exactly that which causes us to dismiss “a bit too much” shopping as a harmless pastime that just makes us feel better for a short time.

there is a really good list in THIS POST that might help you decide if your harmless pastime has tipped over the edge into something that’s not the best for you or your family’s mental and financial health.

One quite sobering thought that helps me personally was this quote from Warren Buffet:

“Start early,” Buffett said. “I started building this little snowball at the top of a very long hill. The trick to have a very long hill is either starting very young or living to be very old.”

Basically, every penny NOT invested now is thousands lost for your future self. Imagine all the money you are spending now that you could be investing. I know this sounds boring but the numbers are really compelling.

Compulsive Spending

According to a 2021 survey by Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, 24% of UK adults reported struggling with compulsive spending. Treatment options for compulsive spending include cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), debt counselling, and support groups such as Debtors Anonymous.

The average personal debt in the UK has fluctuated over the past 10 years. According to data from the Bank of England, the average household debt in the UK was £60,526 in 2020, up from £54,323 in 2010. 

Interestingly the average credit card debt and unsecured debt amounts in the UK over the last 10 years were on a steady incline until the pandemic. Whilst this of course does not mean that we are a nation of shopping addicts, it does speak to how normalised it is for us to spend without the cash to back it up.

Year Average Credit Card Debt (GBP) Average Unsecured Debt (GBP)
2012 2,447 3,081
2013 2,340 3,052
2014 2,370 3,187
2015 2,427 3,375
2016 2,551 3,677
2017 2,613 3,847
2018 2,649 3,841
2019 2,617 3,882
2020 2,634 4,264
2021 1,962 3,724

Sources:

Compulsive spending help UK

  • Debtors Anonymous UK provides support groups for people with compulsive spending and debt problems. They have meetings in various locations throughout the UK. (source: Debtors Anonymous UK)
  • Money and Mental Health is a charity that offers support and advice for people with mental health problems that affect their finances, including compulsive spending. They have a helpline and online resources. (source: Money and Mental Health)
  • The Money Advice Service is a government-backed organization that offers free advice on managing money and debt. They have online resources and a helpline. (source: Money Advice Service)

Rehab Clinics & Therapy

It is rare that a spending habit will become so out of control that it requires rehabilitation, there are a range of therapies, support organisations and if necessary medications out there to provide all the tools you need to resolve or at least better manage the issues in your life that are causing you to turn to retail therapy for a release before you’ll need rehab.

I’ve personally found Better Help to be an invaluable resource and would highly recommend them – just be sure to choose your therapist carefully and make sure you get one that fully understands the issues that you want to work on.

If you do feel like you need a more hands on approach, this list of clinics might give you a good starting point:

  1. Castle Craig Hospital – https://castlecraig.co.uk/
  2. The Priory Group – https://www.priorygroup.com/
  3. UK Addiction Treatment Centres – https://www.ukat.co.uk/
  4. The Life Works Community – https://www.lifeworkscommunity.com/
  5. The Providence Projects – https://www.providenceproject.org/
  6. The Edge – https://theedgerehab.com/
  7. Smarmore Castle Private Clinic – https://smarmore-rehab-clinic.com/
  8. Sanctuary Lodge – https://www.sanctuarylodge.com/
  9. Broadway Lodge – https://www.broadwaylodge.org.uk/
  10. The Dawn Rehab – https://thedawnrehab.com/
  11. The Kusnacht Practice – https://kusnachtpractice.com/
  12. The Haynes Clinic – https://www.thehaynesclinic.com/
  13. The Ocean Recovery Centre – https://oceanrecoverycentre.com/

Help for Shopping Addiction UK

  • The NHS offers cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and other treatments for addictive behaviours. You can talk to your GP about getting a referral. (source: NHS)
  • Overeaters Anonymous (OA) is a support group that offers help for people with various types of compulsive behaviours, including shopaholics. They have meetings in various locations throughout the UK, as well as online meetings. (source: Overeaters Anonymous UK)
  • Mind is a charity that provides support and advice for people with mental health problems, including those that may contribute to compulsive shopping behaviour. They have a helpline and online resources. (source: Mind)
  • Gamblers Anonymous is a support group that offers help for people with gambling addiction, which can sometimes be linked to being a compulsive shopper. They have meetings in various locations throughout the UK, as well as online meetings. (source: Gamblers Anonymous UK)
  • The Royal College of Psychiatrists provides information and advice on various mental health issues, including out of control spending behaviour. They have online resources and a directory of mental health services. (source: Royal College of Psychiatrists)
  • The Samaritans is a charity that provides emotional support for people in distress, including those who may be struggling with compulsions. They have a helpline and online resources. (source: The Samaritans)
  • The Addiction Helper is a free referral service that can help individuals find treatment options for various types of addiction, including behavioural addiction. They offer a confidential helpline and online resources. (source: The Addiction Helper)
  • The Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma (CADAT) is a treatment centre that provides cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and other treatments for anxiety related disorders. They are located in London. (source: CADAT)
  • The Priory Group is a private mental health care provider that offers treatment for various types of addiction. They have several locations throughout the UK. (source: The Priory Group)
  • The Salvation Army is a charity that provides support and advice for people struggling with various issues, including mental health conditions. They have a helpline and online resources. (source: The Salvation Army)
  • Smart Recovery UK is a support group that offers help for people with various types of addictive behaviours. They have meetings in various locations throughout the UK, as well as online meetings. (source: Smart Recovery UK)