Symptoms of the addiction include chronic over-spending, shopping behavior that hurts relationships with others and mood swings following a shopping trip.
"Compulsive buyers may get a short-term lift but afterward their mood sinks below where they started," Benson said.
Of course, most Americans are not shopping addicts and there is even such a thing as a "healthy" impulse buy, Benson said.
It can be anything from a book that helps you conquer a problem to a scarf that matches much of your wardrobe, she said.
For Sheri Combs, it might be her latest cookbook.
In a message to ABCNews.com, the Akron, Ohio, woman said that the cookbook she picked up recently would help her save money by making more meals at home.
It can "be justified by the fact that meals made at home are cheaper and often better for you than meals eaten out," Combs said. "All in all...a win, win situation!"