A Shopping Addiction That Got Out of Control

When most people think of addiction, their thoughts automatically turn to alcohol, drugs, and gambling. Many are unaware that there are other addictions people suffer from, including to sex and shopping.

Many people jokingly say they have a shopping addiction because they like to head to the shops, but an actual addiction can be devastating. Those suffering from a shopping addiction have no control over their actions, and they will continue spending even when they do not need the item in question or when they cannot afford to spend the money.

Types of Shopping Addictions

There are a number of different kinds of shopping addict who shop for a variety of reasons. Shopaholics Anonymous describes a compulsive shopaholic as one who will shop to relieve feelings of emotional distress.

A trophy shopaholic is one who will spend their time shopping for what they perceive as the perfect item. Some shopaholics like the idea of being able to spend and show off their purchases. They will spend a lot of money on flashy products that give the impression they have plenty of money.

Many people cannot control their urge to spend money on what they consider bargains. Even if they do not need these items, they will buy them, simply because they are on special offer. Others will become obsessed with one particular item and will continue to buy it and hoard it, even though they would never be able to use the stocks they already have.

Another type of shopaholic is the collector, who feels the need to collect sets of items; this could mean buying every variety of a product just to have the set.


A shopping addiction requires a lot of money, so for those who become addicted, financial hardship regularly follows. Some will acquire mountains of debt by spending on credit cards that they cannot afford to repay. Others will become so desperate to get their hands on cash to fund their addiction that they will resort to criminal activity.

This is exactly what happened to Lynne Thompson, a Sheffield care home manager who turned herself into police after stealing £42,000 from vulnerable residents. Thompson had come clean to employers and her husband before turning herself over to police saying, “I have stolen this money, and I need to be stopped.”

Thompson stole from four elderly residents – who have all now been repaid – and spent the money on “clothes, gifts, and just stuff.” She had also built up debt of almost £20,000. Her defence lawyer said that there were indications in a psychological report that she was suffering from a form of kleptomania. He said, “While goods were purchased using the monies, most actually were thrown away or given away randomly to complete strangers or languished in a cupboard at home.”

Breach of Trust

Thompson had access to some of the residents’ accounts as part of her role in the care home. She would withdraw money for the residents, but she was pocketing some of this cash for herself. However, she became guilty about her actions and confessed to her husband. Her lawyer said she was devastated by her actions. Thompson was sentenced to thirty-two months in prison and prosecutors will attempt to recoup the money stolen from her assets.

Addiction Help

Lynne Thompson saw the error of her ways too late and is now paying the price for her desperate actions. Hopefully, she will now get the help she needs to treat her addiction.

For those of you suffering from a shopping addiction, help is available. Addiction Helper is a free service working with people suffering from all types of addiction. If you need help, contact our expert advisors today who will offer free advice and information to help you beat your addiction.


  1. https://www.thestar.co.uk/news/local/care-home-manager-stole-42-000-from-vulnerable-residents-to-fund-out-of-control-shopping-addiction-1-7409354
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