Swedish shopaholics get support

Sweden is about to get its first support group for shopaholics. Four former addicts now hope to help others on the road to recovery from their spending addictions.

“At the moment it is almost impossible for people with spending addictions to receive help,” founder Ann-Britt Aldeman told The Local.

Aldeman hopes that the new support organisation (Köpberoendes Stödförening) will help prevent others from falling into the same trap as she did. She is currently seeking funding from the authorities to finance the venture.

“I was a spending addict until 1996,” Aldeman told The Local.

“I was fired because I misused money from work. I embezzled 1 million kronor, which I mainly spent on clothes. At the time I was head of a private pre-school for children,” she said.

It was difficult for Aldeman to understand what was happening to her. When she was eventually found out she grew suicidal and sought help.

“I was in psychotherapy for four years and the psychiatrist told me I was suffering from depression. But I eventually got help in America, where I learned that it was not just depression but a spending addiction.”

She explains the thrill she once got from spending money.

“I felt a rush, like I was high. And the better I felt, the more I shopped.”

Ten years on from being fired from her job, Aldeman is still paying a financial price for her addiction.

“I have repaid half a million kronor so far. But since interest rates have meant the debt has grown I still have almost one million to pay off. But that is my responsibility.”