Psychological Self-Help

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The books cited above give self-help suggestions for controlling
compulsive spending and/or debt reduction. There are a couple of
others: Catalano & Sonenberg (1993) about controlling your emotions
and Mundis (1988) about controlling your budget. It is easy to
recommend sensible budgeting or money management methods, like
establishing three bank accounts: (1) for day-to-day spending, (2) for
essential regular bills, and (3) for saving, depositing the amount
needed for (2) and planned for (3) as soon as you get your pay check.
By carefully setting (1) to include only a small amount for optional
"spending" and by considering (2) and (3) sacred, one might control
the over-spending. Any reasonable spending plan would work with
most people, but, by the very nature of a serious addiction, this kind
of rational decision-making probably won't work. Perhaps it would
work if there is a firm commitment to the plan. In many cases,
however, initially the compulsive buyer may have to turn money
management over to someone else who is willing to totally control the
money for all purposes, only allowing the over-spender a small amount
each week of account (1) for non-essential shopping. While spending is
being controlled by someone else for several months, the addict
should concentrate on reducing his/her depression, building self-
esteem, and, most importantly, developing truly gratifying
constructive activities that demand their time. A person with a lesser
addiction may just have to avoid stores. Keep in mind, the urge to
shop weakens if you can restrain yourself an hour or so. Some
moderately impulsive people can go shopping without money or credit
cards (it is possible to have a great time shopping with a friend
without buying anything, you know). If a real buy is found, you can
impose on yourself a one-day waiting period, then consult with your
partner about the appropriateness of the purchase before going back
and buying. Several systems like this have worked for many people. 
Disorganization is a handicap but you have your own unique
style, so you need solutions tailored to your personality (see Schlenger
& Roesch, 1990). Gleeson (1995) helps you become efficient at work. 
More Specific Problems
Eating disorders
Eating disorders or just overeating--see discussion and examples
overeating). It is estimated that 55% to 70% of us Americans are
overweight, about 25%-35% of us are just plain obese (20% or more
over-weight), while another 12% are classified severely overweight.
An estimated 44% of us go on a diet sometime during each year,
explaining the enormous amount spent on diet books. Fat, especially
in our upper body, endangers our health. In women, the risk of heart
disease increases with the addition of only 10 or 12 pounds above your
ideal weight or your weight at 18. The obese have 3 to 5 times the risk
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