Have you ever come across the term ‘shopaholic'? From the movie industry to the general society, some persons have used this term to somewhat downplay how serious shopping addiction is.
Like many other addictions, compulsive shopping, or in other terms compulsive buying disorder, is a major problem affecting millions of adults in the United States.
Also referred to as compulsive spending or oniomania, this compulsive disorder is displayed in the compulsion or uncontrollable desire to buy things. Oftentimes, compulsive buying disorder makes a person spend money on things that are unimportant regardless of how tight their finances are at the time.
A compulsive buyer or shopping addict will find it nearly impossible to resist the impulse once it comes upon them. They will buy anything and everything they crave at that time without minding whether they need it or not.
Like drugs and other substance addictions, shopping addiction creates a chemical reaction in the brain that makes a person always crave for it.
A person’s brain begins to experience a certain rush of pleasure every time he/she goes shopping, and before long, the person becomes addicted to that feeling. To constantly bask in that feeling and experience the rush, such a person will always go shopping even when every odd is against it.
Because most shopping addicts are female, some addictive shopping items have been identified to be shoes, clothes, and bags. However, they could literally be anything, even real estate, or tech devices.
Although only little is known and confirmed about this addiction, it is certainly a serious mental disorder that can lead to grave consequences.
Studies carried out in this area have shown that shopping addiction often starts once people become adults and are able to procure their own credit cards. This spans anywhere between the ages of 18 and 30, but it could definitely go higher.
Most compulsive shoppers are tied to high debt rates, poverty, or poor finances, and sometimes fraud. This is because they will go to any length to get money for shopping.
Symptoms of Shopping Addiction
Most compulsive shoppers always put up a front that makes it difficult to find out their habit, but if you pay attention you will find that they are hiding their addiction under different guises.
Here are a few ways to identify shopping addicts, or to tell if you are one.
- Buying lots of unnecessary and unimportant products or items
- Repeatedly buying similar items that typically go unused
- Using shopping as therapy or cure for stress, sadness, or anxiety
- Overly obsessed with shopping, even when there is no need to shop
- Experience feelings of accomplishment, excitement, or satisfaction after shopping
- Going as far as maxing out their credit cards or getting multiple cards only to run them up.
- Running into debt because of shopping, and continuing to shop even in debt
- Going into fraudulent activities, stealing, and lying to shop
- Feeling guilt and regret after shopping but being unable to stop
- Tried and failed to limit shopping and purchase
If you can relate to these symptoms, then shopping is no longer a leisure activity for you but an addiction. It is important that you seek help urgently before things get further out of hand.
Treatment for Shopping Addiction
Shopping addiction can be quite difficult to manage and treat because it is connected to a normal and regular activity everyone performs. On a daily basis, you need to shop for food, personal effects, clothes, and other important items so the solution cannot be found in not shopping at all.
In extreme conditions, however, an addicted shopper could be prevented from any kind of shopping and cut off funds or credit facilities of any form. This is dependent on how serious the situation is.
For other less serious levels of compulsive shopping, such buyers should be monitored by families or friends who will oversee their finances and supervise their purchases.
In some cases, shopping addiction can be caused by deep hurt, mental, or emotional issues that were left unchecked. These issues will sometimes trigger a person to compulsive buying.
Regardless of the causes, most such cases can be treated with behavioral therapy and counseling especially after possible triggers have been identified.
Basically, treating compulsive addiction entails first accepting that one has the condition and then discovering possible causes. After that, one should find healthier ways to act and respond to triggers.
It is also important to have the support of friends, families, and dependents to help through the tough times and watch out to prevent relapses.
With proper management and determination, total recovery from this addiction can be achieved.