BUSINESS
01/15/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Shopaholism: Bad Year To Be A Compulsive Shopper

The holiday season is notoriously stressful for people with drinking problems and overeating issues. But times have never been tougher for those diagnosed with a controversial disorder called "compulsive buying," or "shopaholism."

On Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the first official day of the holiday shopping season, 31-year-old confessed shopaholic Nikki Ebben was holed up in her bedroom in Appleton, Wis., while her husband went to Wal-Mart to snag a $500 flat-screen TV. Ms. Ebben, who has maxed out 15 credit cards and racked up more than $80,000 in debt, says she vowed to stay away from stores. Still, she couldn't resist the temptation of e-commerce, particularly the appeal of 30% off and free shipping. While her husband was gone, she spent $400 at Toysrus.com and Target.com, using money from the couple's joint bank account.

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