What is financial bulimia?
I would consider it episodes of binge–spending followed by inappropriate methods of financial control purging - living without basic necessities.
So a binge is when an individual spends a much larger amount of money than their means will allow. It isn’t always in response to a need but rather to depression, stress, or self- esteem issue. During a binge-spending episode, the individual may feel a false sense of control and power. This false sense of control or power is followed by a short state of euphoria. And the euphoria is followed by regret, self-loathing and guilt. This is when the purging comes in, they sell things they just bought (some just return it to the store) or they realize they have no money left and they can't pay basic necessities.
A change in habit will take time, and the greatest kick in the pants to change will come from our own head and heart, the willingness to change and courage to stand back up even when struck in the face with the reality of the financial dilemna.
It would appear, based on the definition, that some may need professional help to alleviate the depression, stress and other emotional trigger.
Talking finances with others isn’t a huge taboo, but you never know who is going through the same thing you are; so find a friend or group to help you out and to talk to. If you don’t have someone to talk to, write in a journal, whether with pen and paper or online as an anonymous person. Talk about why you want to buy, what were you going through at the time that made you want to give in, in the process you may find the trigger and be able to work the problem out.
Bankrate wrote an article, The Basics: You might be a shopaholic and stated, "Studies estimate that as many as 17 million Americans, better than one in 20 of us, can't control our urge to shop, even at the expense of our job, our marriage, our family and our finances."
As stated in the article there is an unfortunately low number of studies and research on this widely misunderstood desire.
There was one study that was done by authors Nancy M. Ridgway, Monika Kukar-Kinney and Kent B. Monroe who developed a new scale for measuring compulsive buying. (via science daily) However, they just provide the results from their study and not the testing process.
Unfortunately, there isn't a set way to fix the situation. As stated above you could go to group shopaholic anonymous type group or try journaling or speaking with a friend or counselor. You could even try hynopsis. Ultimately to getting help for a problem starts with your desire to correct it.
Attention, Shopaholics: Your Weakness May Be a Proper Disease (nyt)
Real-life shopaholics in a world of hurt (lat)
Binge spending: treatment for shopaholics (SA news)
What is financial bulimia?