How shopaholic mother squandered daughter's $150,000 college fund on 'meaningless' purchases in just ONE YEAR
When it comes to stereotypes, there are few that are more deep-set than the old 'women love shopping' rule.
But for one woman, the 'shopaholic' label is far more than a joke – Dana, 48, is so reliant upon spending that her illness has been categorised alongside alcohol and drug addiction by a psychotherapist.
So extreme is her unhealthy addiction to buying and hoarding possessions – be they shoes, handbags or clothes – that it has eaten into her child's college savings, leaving 16-year-old Abigail with no funding for all-important university education.
Addicted: Shopaholic Dana has spent $150,000 on unnecessary purchases in just a year while failing to put aside money towards her daughters' college funds
Speaking with Anderson Cooper on his Anderson show, airing today, the mother-of-two admits that she has put aside almost no college savings and yet in the past 12 months alone has spent an incredible $150,000 on what her husband, Alfred, 57, calls 'gifts'.
Having told the show that she
'guesttimates' to have spent $50,000 in the last year, Alfred, with a
wry smile, corrects Dana, revealing that the real figure is in fact two
to three times that. He holds down two jobs to keep up with his wife's spending.
A preview for the show shows Dana holding up a $300 pair of boots – one of three identical – and unused – pairs she owns. A mountain of handbags sits in the crammed closet, where many of her hoarded buys languish.
Dana has taken steps to address her illness. Describing her therapy sessions, she says she has 'set up goals on trying to not shop over a certain number of days, certain amount of time. To stay off of certain websites, that kind of thing'.
Concerned: Abigail, 16, left, and her 14-year-old sister are worried about their future – and contacted the show out of desperation for their parents
Still, Abigail – who contacted the show's producers out of desperate concern for her parents – is clearly very worried: 'It's a pretty big problem because we don't have any sort of fund for us for college, which is my biggest concern right now because I'll be heading to college soon.'
Most worrying, perhaps, is that the mother suggests pulling her girls out of private school as a way to save money for university – but does not reason that curbing her problematic addiction may provide a solution.
The disjuncture between Dana's addiction and the needs of her children is clear for Mr Cooper and the audience to see.
At one point, the incredulous show host points out that 'it does sound like you're making excuses for…spending $50,000 on shopping last year on meaningless things, and they don't have a college fund.
Long-suffering: Dana's husband Alfred has two jobs. He wryly admitted his wife's spending was three times more than her guesttimate of $50,000
'Does that not raise red flags to you'
Red flags or not, the hormonal effects of Dana's shopping addiction apparently overtake its downsides.
Dr Mike Dow, a psychotherapist, explains to Mr Cooper: 'Dopamine is a feel good chemical in the brain that makes us feel happy and excited.
'So whenever you make a purchase, whenever you go into someplace new, your brain is going to give you that. So in a lot of ways, this behaviour, which can for some people turn into a compulsive behaviour, is a way to sort of self-medicate and make ourselves feel better.'
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