What is the Difference Between Hoarding and a Shopping Addiction?

Playing Did Trauma Cause Woman's Hoarding?

Tina admits that she’s a shopaholic but does she have hoarding disorder?

Hoarding disorder is a diagnosable condition but the jury is still out on whether or not shopping can be a classic addiction.  Clinical psychologist Dr. Judy Ho shares that people don’t believe the research really shows that shopping actually activates the brain in the same way that gambling, drugs, or alcohol does.

Some classic signs of hoarding disorder are:

  • Throwing things away causes distress.
  • There’s anxiety about being able to get a certain item.
  • Hoarding is often coupled with feelings of loneliness and depression.
  • Potentially triggered by traumatic events around the ages of 11-15.  

Tina feels distressed when she’s trying to throw things away – it impedes on her entire life, her living space, her relationships, that goes to a lot of the underlying issues that trigger people to have hoarding behaviors.

Tina shares that her dad beat her mother, and her mom didn’t have any confidence. She says shopping makes her feel pretty for the day or even an hour. Tina also shares that she was pregnant when she married her first husband. She remembers that her fiancé’s mother made her wear an off-white tea-length dress. While she was buying the dress, she remembered thinking that she was going to return it right after the wedding because she didn’t like it.  Dr. Judy thinks these two traumatic events caused her to have a real connection to clothing and an attachment to objects.

Hoarding can be treated. If your loved one is suffering from hoarding here are some classic symptoms. If you think your loved one is suffering from a hoarding disorder, help your loved one to get some help.