Watch CBS News

Avoiding compulsive shopping on Amazon Prime Day

Avoiding compulsive shopping on Amazon Prime Day
Avoiding compulsive shopping on Amazon Prime Day 02:43

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Amazon and its competitors are hard at work at this hour, offering deals on this the first of two Prime Days.

For many, it can be fun waiting for the next lightning deal or scooping up things you want at crazy sale prices.

But for others, it's not fun at all.

Compulsive shopping disorder that leads to addictive shopping is as real as any other addiction, it impacts 5-8% of the population, 80% of those are women, and it starts as early as your late teens or early 20s, and it takes thoughtful effort to avoid disaster.

The sharp deals of these two midsummer days are often eye-popping, heart pounding.

"I can see how it can be a real problem [even] for people who don't have addictive personalities," according to Holly Martin, a licensed psychologist at New Directions Counseling.

Martin says fighting the allure isn't easy.

"We just have to sometimes stop and think, 'Is it a good deal for me?'"

Because the addictive motivation is deeper than price, it can be self-soothing for sadness or depression.

"Sometimes, our feelings are overwhelming, and we have to take care of them right away," Martin added.

So, Martin says, the mouse is clicked, and it's a plunge into a rabbit hole.

"And then you end up feeling worse about yourself, that you start beating yourself up. 'Here I go. I made a bad decision again. I've made more financial problems for myself again.'"

Martin says to take some preventive steps.

"I would go into my accounts, remove all my saved credit card information, [and] get all of that out of there."

She says to unsubscribe from the retailers so you won't get flooded by offers.

"I would also make plans to not be on the internet at all. I would avoid it. I'd stay away from it," Martin said.

But if you are going to shop?

"Have a list of, 'This is what I really need,' and then have somebody with you."

And that somebody has to be a good enough friend to help you hit the brakes if you stray from the list.

How serious can this be?

Very serious. A shopping-addictive person can pile up thousands of dollars in purchases that they don't need and can't afford.

In fact, Martin suggests you might want to plan a day out away from all electronics.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.