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Shopping Spree or Addiction after an Uncontested Divorce?

Posted By Attorney Jim Cairns || 30-Dec-2012

Going on a shopping spree after a divorce is not an uncommon occurrence. Hollywood celebrities have filled pages of tabloids with their post divorce purchases. Some may be in search of a chemical high associated with shopping.

Let's face it, if we have an experience which makes us feel good we want to repeat the sensation. Some people who have gone through an uncontested divorce find comfort in higher levels of dopamine that are produced when they shop. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain which provides feelings of pleasure. A post uncontested divorce shopping spree can span from a one time event to a series of splurges.

After a thirty year marriage, it's been reported that Danny DeVito is looking into purchasing a sports car. DeVito is known to always have wanted a Porsche or Ferrari. Some say he's trying to mimic his friend Jack Nicholson's bachelor lifestyle. Katie Holmes was spotted in Barney's were she treated herself to entire new wardrobe, including some cocktail dresses. Reports also indicate that Holmes spent $25,000 on lingerie and designer heels. After Elin Nordegren divorced Tiger Woods she purchased a $12 million dollar home in North Palm Beach.

Treating yourself to some special items after divorce can be a way to boost your self-confidence. Cleaning out some of the clutter you have collected in your closets and redefining yourself can give you the boost you need as you head into a new career or just looking for some change. However, some individuals can take a shopping spree to an extreme and find themselves with a shopping addiction.

A clear sign of a shopping addiction is a person who uses shopping to deal with stress. In addition, the inability to control spending and not seriously take into account the negative effects of financial reality is a red flag.

Here are some signs that may indicate a shopping addiction:

  1. Going over budget. For example, $250 was set aside for a purchase and $700 was spent;
  2. Obsessive thoughts about a shopping experience, to the point it's interfering with everyday activity such as work;
  3. Hiding purchases from others because of possible embarrassment;
  4. Low self-esteem, anxiety and/or depression that only shopping can seem to cure; and/or
  5. Compulsive buying.

Help is available for people suffering from a shopping addiction. Speak with you doctor for some options. In addition, financial counselors can help you if you have incurred excessive debt. Remember, life after an uncontested divorce doesn't have to become a financial devastation.