Confessions of a Real Shopaholic

The movie may be happy, but in reality it can cause serious financial danger.

March 26, 2009 — -- The recently released movie "Confessions of a Shopaholic" follows a young woman played by Isla Fisher who is obsessed with shopping and the many comedic, and romantic, misadventures her addiction causes.

But not too far from Hollywood's silver screens, the tale of a real shopaholic is unfolding with considerably fewer scripted laughs, replaced by heartbreak and oppressive debt.

Ginger Logan-Cannon lives on a typical street and in a typical middle class home in Southern California but one aspect of her life is not at all typical. She regularly receives monthly credit card bills for around $1,500 and is around $150,000 in debt because of her outrageous shopping habits.

From a $1,800 St. Johns jacket that she said was on sale and a "good deal" to $900 Louis Vuitton shoes, Logan-Cannon's closets were so packed that her husband built her a few more in the garage.

And it doesn't stop with clothes. Logan-Cannon said she has redecorated her living room three or four times in one year.

"I love zebra dishes, but I have like 10 sets of them," she said.

"Shopping makes me feel wonderful," she told "Good Morning America." "When I have brand new things, it's really a great feeling. It's comforting. It's warm. It's fuzzy."

That pleasure rush, experts say, happens because dopamine and the endorphin receptor areas of the brain get turned on -- in Logan-Cannon's case by shopping.

But for Logan-Cannon, her salary as a parole officer, about $100,000 a year, cannot keep up with her addiction, meaning Logan-Cannon dips into her 401(k) to keep it up. Now, her savings are nearly gone completely.

"If I look at all the money, the thousands of dollars I've spent over the years to where I am now, what I could have done with that money, or what I could have done or what I could have invested, that's kind of sad to me," she said.

At one point, her habit even broke up her marriage for a time.

To help Logan-Cannon get over her costly habit, "GMA" invited Dr. Charles Sophy, a psychiatrist and medical director for the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services, to lend his expert advice.

According to Sophy, it's the impulsiveness that needs to get under control. Next time Logan-Cannon feels the need to go on a shopping spree, Sophy said he would go on a walk with her instead.

Here are Some Signs You Might Have a Shopping Addiction

The biggest tell-tale sign is that you're having financial difficulty, or are leaning in that direction.

Outrageous bills for extravagant items that you don't really need.

Hiding your spending from family and others.

Being constantly preoccupied with material goods. -- you just can't hold yourself back from them.

Tips to Deal With Shopping Addiction

Sleep: Make sure you get enough. If you don't, it probably means something is wrong.

Work: If you're not working full time, and you're not doing something productive with that time, you should figure out a way to use the time in a meaningful way.

Eating: If you don't have a good diet and feel good physically, you are tempted to go out and spend to feel better.

Expressing emotions: You need to deal with the problems in your life, instead of running from them with things like shopping.

Play: You need to create a vibrant social life, filled with people and hobbies and interests, so you can fill up your time with healthy things instead of shopping.