The Cycle Of Shopping Addiction
People who struggle with compulsive shopping may experience ups and downs in their addiction. The urge to shop is usually strongest during moments of depression, sadness, or anger. Shopping addiction has also been associated with holidays that reinforce compulsive shopping, i.e. holiday shopping in December.
People who struggle with a shopping problem initially feel a high or rush from the act of shopping. However, any positive feelings they get from gratifying their compulsion are fleeting.
Many people feel deep regret, shame, or embarrassment in the aftermath of a shopping spree, which ultimately leads to more feelings of distress and more shopping.
Some people contain their shopping problem to online shopping. Sprees on sites like Amazon.com can also play into problem shopping patterns, and are often just as devastating as in-person shopping. The ability to quietly and quickly buy more through online merchants can lead to shopping sprees in the middle of the night, during work breaks, or from the comfort of the living room sofa. These sprees are often extremely financially devastating and can be hard to control.
Compulsive shopping often follows a distinct pattern:
Take Control Of Your Life Get Started On The Road To Recovery
You may feel that the prospect of tackling your addiction and embarking on the journey back to the life you want might be an overwhelming one but the alternative can only be infinitely worse. Do not let addiction do you any more damage: take back control of your life and start your recovery today by contacting your GP and/or an addiction specialist and asking for the help you need.
Needing To Shop To Feel Normal
For people without a shopping addiction, buying something can be a fun diversion or a necessity. People with compulsive buying disorder feel compelled to spend money so that they can feel normal. When you can’t shop, you might feel angry, frustrated, or grumpy. You might feel like you will be unable to enjoy your life if you cannot shop. The frustration of being unable to shop is a common reason people who are trying to quit relapse.
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Are You Addicted To Online Shopping
For many people, online shopping is a bad habit that drains their finances and leads to unnecessary purchases. For others, online shopping has become a serious problem. As CNBC reports, some people, especially Gen Xers and millennials, develop an addiction to online shopping. For these people, online shopping is a habit thats gotten entirely out of control, wrecking their finances, long-term goals, and even relationships.
Online shopping addiction has many of the same symptoms as regular shopping addiction and compulsive buying. However, its easier to indulge in because you can now shop anywhere, at any time, thanks to your phone.
How do you know if your online shopping habit has become something more sinister? Look for these signs:
- You often hide purchases from your family.
- You frequently exceed your monthly budget because of online purchases.
- You have rising credit card debt because of online purchases.
- You are running out of space to store or hide your online purchases.
- You have a secret credit card that you use to make online purchases.
- You argue with your spouse or partner over your purchases.
- You often feel guilty after you make an online purchase.
- You feel upset or out of sorts if you cant visit your favorite retailers website.
- You feel anxious that youll miss a deal when you dont have access to the Internet.
- You often buy things you dont need just because they were on sale.
- You feel like youre not able to stop online shopping.
Where Can You Find Help And Treatment Options
With several options of treatment available, picking the right one for you may depend on your resources and if you have health insurance.
Most insurance companies cover some counseling and therapy services. This is a great place to start your search for help. Call the number on your insurance card and ask for an in-network mental health professional. A therapist, psychologist or other recommended mental health professional can treat your addiction with in-person visits and recommend additional resources.
If you do not have insurance, there are still opportunities to get help. Debtors Anonymous is similar to AA and follows a 12-step program. It can help you find a local support group and will provide you with guidance and hope for recovery.
You can also reach out to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration . This government agency offers a helpline for information on local treatment and community-based organizations to help you overcome your shopping habit.
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How To Get Help For A Shopping Addiction
Currently, there are many providers and organizations offering help for shopping addiction. Getting help may begin by conducting a search for shopping addiction treatment in ones local region. As options appear, it is important to carefully review each to find the ones that appear to be the best fit. From there, contact the provider or organization to ask any relevant questions. These may include the following: Do you specialize in shopping addiction or compulsive behavior disorders? What are your treatment outcomes? What is the cost? Are expenses covered by my insurance, and if not, is there a payment plan?
At this point you may also share some of the issues you are dealing with to ensure that treatment will be comprehensive. For instance, if a mental health and/or substance use problem is present, it is important to mention that here. Remember that mental health and substance use problems will reinforce problematic shopping. If one is treated and not the other, it is likely that the problematic behavior will resume at one point or another.
Normal Vs Compulsive Shopping
Many people have occasional shopping sprees, particularly in special situations . But occasional overspending doesn’t mean you’re a compulsive shopper. In fact, compulsive shopping doesn’t have anything to do with how much money is spent.
Rather, it’s the extent of the preoccupation, the level of personal distress, and the development of adverse consequences that characterizes the condition.
Symptoms Of Shopping Addiction
Symptoms of shopping addiction will vary in severity depending on individual factors as well as the extent of the addiction. Like other addictions, it is helpful to consider them along a continuum of mild, moderate, and severe.
Shopping addiction symptoms may include but are not limited to the following:
- Impaired impulse control
- Substance use disorders 8
How Shopping Can Be Like Other Addictions
There are several characteristics that shopping addiction shares with other addictions. As with other addictions, people who over-shop become preoccupied with spending and devote significant time and money to the activity.
Actual spending is important to the process of shopping addiction window shopping does not constitute an addiction, and the addictive pattern is actually driven by the process of spending money.
As with other addictions, shopping addiction is highly ritualized and follows a typically addictive pattern of thoughts about shopping, planning shopping trips, and the shopping act itself, often described as pleasurable, ecstatic even, and as providing relief from negative feelings. Finally, the shopper crashes, with feelings of disappointment, particularly with him/herself.
Compulsive shoppers use shopping as a way of escaping negative feelings, such as depression, anxiety, boredom, and anger, as well as self-critical thoughts. Unfortunately, the escape is short-lived.
Items purchased during a compulsive shopping spree are often simply hoarded unused, and compulsive shoppers then begin to plan the next spending spree. Most shop alone, although some shop with others who enjoy it. Generally, it will lead to embarrassment to shop with people who dont share this type of enthusiasm for shopping.
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Learn How To Handle Money
Lack of financial education is a real social problem. The handling of money is nowhere really shown. This can lead to a certain resignation or frustration frustration because you feel ripped off because theres nothing left over anyway and frustration because the topic of finance seems to run past you.
It is then easily consumed according to the motto: If the money is always gone in the end anyway, then you can spend it again immediately .
The topic of finance is annoying for many and is no fun at all. Consumption is then a possible compensation. The solution: Financial education, learning how to handle money and taking care of your own finances.
What does it mean to have your finances under control:
- To be aware of where your money is flowing .
- To have clear budgets.
- To have structure in the finances .
- Having planned reserves and asset accumulation. So also for your own protection.
How To Stop A Shopping Addiction: 8 Tips That Work
By Eden AshleyMintNotion.com is reader-supported. When you buy through links on this site, we may earn a commission at no added cost to you. Disclosure Page
If you think you might have a shopping addiction or you have trouble resisting those online impulse purchases, youre not alone. A whopping 89 percent of Americans have given into impulse shopping, spending an average of $81.75 per session.
Even though Ive been trying to be more mindful with my shopping habits and be happy with less, sometimes I still feel the urge to buy things I dont need. This is normal.
Every now and then, we buy stuff because it makes us feel good in the moment. Thats okay. Were human. But its when we continue to succumb to the temptation of impulse buying, thats when our spending can start to spiral out of control. This can lead to compulsive shopping, which is the frequent preoccupation with buying things we dont need.
A shopping addiction can be expensive and time-consuming. Its a hobby that drains your bank account, eats up countless hours of your time, and leaves you feeling never truly satisfied. In fact, many compulsive buyers often feel much worse after shopping. Today Im sharing 8 tried and true ways to beat a spending addiction:
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We are standing by 24/7 to discuss your treatment options. Our representatives work solely for AAC and will discuss whether an AAC facility may be an option for you.
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Compulsive Vs Impulsive Shopping
Impulse buying is an unplanned purchase that happens on the spur of the moment in reaction to the immediate desire to have something you see in a shop. Impulse buying is a little different from compulsive buying, which is typically more pre-planned as a way of escaping negative feelings. But again, people with shopping addiction may engage in both types of addictive buying.
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Problems Associated With Compulsive Shopping
People with shopping addiction often spend beyond their means. Although it may appear less harmful than other forms of addiction, such as drug or alcohol abuse, shopping addiction can and does create serious problems. Financial problems are the most obvious problems associated with compulsive shopping.
Without anything to stop the issue, people with this issue often spend until they absolutely can no longer buy new things. This may mean they have run out of money, maxed out their credit cards, and are unable to borrow funds to continue to feed the addiction. Shopping addiction may cause financial and even legal problems if those who suffer are unable to fulfill their other financial obligations because of their addiction.
People with compulsive shopping disorder may resort to borrowing money from family and friends in order to fuel their addiction. Relationships with loved ones may grow strained over time because people with shopping addiction have a tendency to continually borrow even if they lack the capacity to pay back their debt.
The shame and desire to hide spending often strains marriages and relationships. This can lead to strained or broken relationships because even patient and loving partners eventually become unable to cope with the consequences of the addiction.
Left unresolved, compulsive shopping can become just as problematic and self-destructive as almost any other form of addiction.
How To Find The Best Shopping Addiction Treatment Facility
Once you can recognize the existence of a problem, you might start wondering how to find the best shopping addiction treatment facility for yourself or the afflicted person in your life. Help is available to you 24 hours a day by calling . You can speak with a trained professional whos familiar with the issues surrounding shopping addiction and able to provide you with access to the resources you need to begin addressing this issue at last.
Delaying help is almost always a mistake. Please call as soon as you can for help, and get a new start through treatment for shopping addiction.
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Shopping Addiction Support Groups
For people in recovery, 12-step and other support groups can help in many ways. Talking to others who struggled with the same issues can reduce stigma and loneliness and teach effective approaches for overcoming addiction. These groups can also help people connect to higher sources of meaning and deeper sources of joy.
Fortunately, there are support groups specifically for people with compulsive spending disorder and related addictions. Shopping addiction support groups include the following:
- Spenders Anonymous
- Shopaholics Anonymous
These groups hold meetings in many different communities. Local meetings can be found by searching online. In addition, there are online support groups for shopping addiction that can help people who do not have a local meeting to attend or who simply feel more comfortable online.
Substance Abuse And Shopping Addiction
Although some research suggests that individuals with substance abuse disorders are more likely to develop shopping addictions, the link is not particularly well established and it could be simply a case of those individuals be more susceptible to addiction generally. It is certainly the case that many people who go on shopping binges do so under the influence of drugs or, especially, alcohol and the impact of shopping addiction, including the development of mood disorders and concerns over finances, can lead some people to turn to drink or drugs as a form of escapism.
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The Controversy Of Shopping Addiction
Like other behavioral addictions, shopping addiction is a controversial idea. Many experts balk at the idea that excessive spending is an addiction, believing that there has to be a psychoactive substance that produces symptoms, such as physical tolerance and withdrawal, for an activity to be a true addiction.
There is also some disagreement among professionals about whether compulsive shopping should be considered an obsessive-compulsive disorder , impulse control disorder , mood disorder , or behavioral addiction .
Whats The Difference Between Impulsive And Compulsive Shopping
Impulsive and compulsive buying are terms that often get confused for each other. On the surface, they may seem similar, but they are very different in their cause, outcome and frequency.
Impulsive shopping is defined as the sudden urge to make an unplanned purchase. Its very common and nearly everyone has made an impulse purchase at some point in their life.
For example: Youre in the grocery store to pick up a few items for dinner. You see that your favorite ice cream is on sale. Even though its not on your shopping list, you suddenly get the urge to buy it.
Buying the ice cream was unplanned. As soon as you saw it in the store, youve succumbed to an urge in the moment, then purchased the ice cream.
On the other hand, compulsive shopping is planning to shop in order to relieve an uncomfortable tension. For these individuals, shopping can also be used as a way to escape negative feelings, such as anxiety, depression, anger, self-critical thoughts or boredom.
Compulsive shoppers continue this repetition of behavior despite its adverse consequences, such as accumulating credit card debt, rocky relationships due to shopping too much, or feelings of guilt due to overspending. Many compulsive shoppers also find themselves excessively preoccupied with shopping and their poor impulse control when it comes to shopping.
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Tests Performed By Professionals
A commonly used, evidence-based screening tool used by professionals to assess shopping addiction is the Bergen Shopping Addiction Scale. The 28 items are rated along the following: completely disagree, disagree, neither disagree nor agree, agree, and completely agree.
The items are as follows: