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How Many People Have Compulsive Buying Disorder?

Do you ever feel a compulsion to buy something that you don't need? What if you know you don't really have the money for it? Do you buy it anyway?

If this happens once, maybe it's not a defining feature of your life. If it becomes a habit, though, it may be that you're suffering from compulsive buying disorder. Some call this a shopping addiction.

In short, it means you can't help spending money. You have a compulsion to buy new goods and spend the money that you have, regardless of what you already own, what you actually need, what you can afford or what financial means you have.

If you feel like this, you're not alone. Some experts note that about 18 million American adults suffer from this disorder. It can lead to all manner of financial issues. People can rack up credit card debt, see their homes fall into foreclosure and ruin their credit scores. They may end up borrowing money from people they know, perhaps saying they're going to pay off their debt -- when they're really just going to buy something else they don't need.

It's a tricky situation. You know you shouldn't spend, but it's an addiction, just like alcoholism or anything else. It feels, at times, like it's out of your hands.

As you work to get a handle on your finances, it's important to think about all of the financial options you have. That may include declaring bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, which can give you a fresh start if you've kicked the habit and you're ready to build your credit back up.