Though compulsive spenders accumulate a lot of stuff, that's not the root of the problem. "You need to think about what it is you're really shopping for. It's not that eighth pair of black boots or that new camera," says Benson.
Compulsive spending is a response to an emotional problem, says Yarrow. The person could be bereaved or dealing with anxiety, anger, depression or some other emotional issue.
Those emotions can trigger spending, along with fear, guilt, shame, doubt or feelings of inadequacy, among many others, according to Benson.
Yarrow says you need to identify your triggers to get control of them.
Compulsive spenders can get professional therapy, and there are support groups for compulsive spending. But don't rule out the healing power of just talking about your problem with a friend. "Good friends can be great therapists," says Yarrow.
Similarly, Benson recommends that compulsive spenders find a "shopping support buddy." This person can support the spender as he or she works to break the habit.