Shopping Addiction Treatment

Shopping addiction is often not taken seriously by those around the person suffering from it. However, we at Clinic Les Alpes understand the devastating impact of this addiction. Through compassionate and expert care, we offer to support those looking to recover and find new ways to live a meaningful and health-promoting life.

Learn more below about shopping addiction, its symptoms, and its treatment. It is never too late or too early to start on the road to recovery.

Why Choose a Luxury Shopping Addiction Rehab in Switzerland

The first steps on the road to recovery are often the most difficult, and it is nearly impossible to do whilst in environments that enable compulsive buying. This includes work places, familiar environments, and even home now that online shopping has become the norm for many. Break away from your daily life and enter an inpatient facility that will protect you from your compulsions until you build the strength to resist them yourself. 

Clinic Les Alpes not only offers this protection, but also a break from the daily pressures of life. With multiple daily therapies and luxury amenities, you can learn more about what triggers your shopping addiction, as well as new healthy ways to cope with those underlying emotions. Overlooking calm meadows and the serene Lake Geneva, you can start to rediscover yourself surrounded by care, compassion, and leaders in addiction treatment.

What Is Shopping Addiction?

Shopping addiction is a term commonly used by mental health and addiction professionals to describe an overwhelming urge to shop and buy items, leading to distress and impairment in various areas of life. Individuals with shopping addiction often experience an intense emotional high while shopping, which is followed by feelings of guilt, regret, or anxiety. This cycle can lead to a continuous pattern of compulsive shopping, financial problems, and negative impacts on personal and professional relationships.

It is important to acknowledge that most international diagnostic manuals, such as the DSM-V or the ICD-10, do not currently have criteria for shopping addiction’. However, this does not mean that such an addiction is invalid or any less severe than other recognised behavioural addictions. 

Shopping Addiction Symptoms: What Are the Signs of Shopping Addiction?

In the absence of formal diagnostic criteria, a study was recently published by Müller et al (2021) which proposes a set of seven experiences that those suffering from shopping addiction may live through. If you think you may have a shopping addiction, consider if: 

  • You have ever experienced intrusive or irresistible urges to buy things or go shopping
  • You feel like you have little to no control over your buying and shopping
  • You buy things excessively, sometimes without them even being used for their intended purposes
  • You use buying and shopping to cope with negative feelings such as depression, anxiety, boredom, or loneliness
  • You notice that your mood and emotions radically improve when you do go shopping or when you buy things
  • You have experienced negative consequences in your life because of your shopping and buying; this may include financial difficulties, relationship problems, or poor quality of home (hoarding of purchased items for example)
  • You continue to shop and buy despite negative consequences in your life because your shopping

If you have said ‘yes’ for yourself, or someone you know, for four or more of the above points it may be time to seek professional help and support. Attending a rehabilitation centre can be a great way to start your recovery journey by addressing not only the shopping addiction, but also the root causes of why shopping can get so out of control for each unique person.

What Happens in Shopping Addiction Rehabilitation?


An assessment period enables the professional care team around you to learn more about you and what your needs and goals are for your treatment stay. This typically lasts 5-10 days, and you will be able to address all your health needs with a multidisciplinary team. By being open and honest with the team, they will be able to create a personalised treatment plan unique to you and your addiction.


During your treatment period, which is most often 28 days, you will undergo a variety of therapeutic interventions. This will include a range of more traditional talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), narrative therapy, traditional psychotherapy, dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT), and others. 

It will also include complementary therapies in order to provide a somatic sense of recovery including massage, acupuncture, meditation, sound bowls, ayurvedic medicine, and more. Alternative therapies may also be proposed such as art therapy, music and dance therapy, or equine therapy. 

It is important to remember that not only does individual therapy help with recovery, but that research has consistently demonstrated the ‘power of the group’ when it comes to group therapeutic experiences. Not only does this provide you with the opportunity to build new connections with people experiencing similar problems, but it also enables peers to hold each other accountable during their recovery.


Prior to graduating from treatment, your therapist will support you in putting together both a Relapse Prevention Plan and an Aftercare plan. These two plans will connect you with experienced professionals that can help you use your new skills to prevent lapses and cope adequately with triggers. You will be able to feel secure and strong in your newfound recovery.

Is Shopping Addiction Related to Mental Health Problems?

Yes, shopping addiction and compulsive buying is often associated with mental health problems. Often there are underlying mental health problems that force people to turn to a shopping addiction in order to cope with their emotions. Alternatively, it may be that the shopping addiction itself created mental health problems as a result of the negative impacts on that person’s life. 

In either case, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to address a shopping addiction without also addressing the underlying mental health concerns. Most commonly, these include depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, financial stress, and relationships difficulties. Addressing these disorders at the same time requires a comprehensive approach that includes therapy, counselling, and lifestyle changes to achieve an overall improved sense of well-being. 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

How long does rehab for shopping addiction take? 

Recovery for most addictions requires an inpatient stay of approximately 28 days, however, this can be longer depending on the severity of the addiction. With shopping addiction, there is no physical withdrawal period, so those who go into treatment are able to start their therapeutic work immediately and make the most out of their time. 

Does shopping addiction only apply to traditional shops and boutiques? 

Shopping addiction does not only manifest in the ‘traditional’ way some might expect, such as buying too many clothes or going out and buying something every day. This can also be seen in people who compulsively spend their money on unreasonable expenses, buying many homes or boats, many groceries that are never eaten, and more. 

When considering what a ‘shopping’ addiction truly is, you may find it more helpful to use the term ‘compulsive buying’ or ‘compulsive spending’. An intense urge that you must purchase this thing, right now, regardless of whether or not it’s a particularly smart purchase or whether or not you actually need it.

Can people recover from shopping addiction? 

Absolutely, any person who is truly committed to changing their life can recover from shopping addiction. It does take a lot of work and effort from the individual themselves, however with the right professional support, it is possible for anybody. It is important to remember, as previously mentioned, that you are never too far gone, or not ‘bad enough’ to get the help you need to repair your life. 

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