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Mesa shopaholics could shop their way into bankruptcy

A recent news article about how shopping can become a dangerous compulsion may be of interest to Mesa readers. Many people may not see their shopping sprees as a problem, especially during the holidays; however, the truth of the matter is that shopping can be considered an addiction and it can lead to bankruptcy. In fact, it is so close to being an addiction that it may show up in the 2013 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

As a shopper, you may act on impulse. Similar to impulse gambling, shopping can lead you into financial trouble and in need of bankruptcy protection. With after-holiday deals being promoted everywhere you go and online, you could easily reach your spending limits too quickly and in many cases, exceed them significantly.

According to the American Psychological Association, 15 million Americans have trouble gaining control over their spending.

If you have gone so far with your shopping that you have dug yourself a hole that you simply can't get out of, you may need to seek counseling for this addiction as well as file for bankruptcy in order to start anew. There are twelve-step groups and outpatient therapy programs to treat shopping addictions.

Filing for bankruptcy requires some guidance, too. There is more than one kind of bankruptcy and every individual situation is different. The most common bankruptcy filed is Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which typically wipes your slate completely clean. This filing frees you from nearly all debt and you will no longer receive harassing phone calls from creditors. You will also no longer be susceptible to wage garnishment or at risk for repossession. You get a fresh start with Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Since it is required that you must first pass a means test before filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, in order to determine whether you are making too much money to file, it is important that you consult with an attorney to learn more about the process and whether it suits your needs.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "When shopping is a problem," Bonnie Miller Rubin, Dec. 23, 2011