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Shopping addiction spotlighted in new TV show

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Sarah Downey has over 100 pairs of jeans in her closet.

And at about 150-300 bucks a pop, you can safely say she has an expensive obsession. But making light of shopping addiction is not the goal of the Oxygen Network's new show, "My Shopping Addiction." Sure, it pokes fun of a first-world problem, but it also exposes the devastating trail of financial and emotional ruin that can ensue with an addiction--even one that doesn't involve a dangerous substance or a strong drink.

Dumpster diving for the high

Downey, a woman featured on the show, recently appeared on a "Good Morning America" episode, where she talked about women who go dumpster diving or those who collect designer shoes just for the "high."

“It’s kind of better than sex,” she said of her addiction. “Well, I guess, you know, maybe I haven’t had very good lovers, but, you know."

Like many other women--or men--with the addiction, Downey's problem affected major areas of her life: her finances, her relationships and her use of free time. These are all red flags for addiction, said the show's on-screen psychologist Ramani Durvasula.

A growing concern

With the holiday season fast approaching, compulsive shopping should be viewed as a serious problem. A study conducted by Oxygen with Research Now found that about 36 percent of Americans have gone into credit card debt just to buy gifts and that about half of them will spend more than they can afford this holiday season.

And while Downey is featured on the show, she now says she can manage her addiction.

"In the last six months, I’ve probably shopped less than five times. So, huge change,” she said.

"My Shopping Addiction" airs on Mondays on Oxygen.

Source: ABC News