Counseling Helps You To Repair Broken Relationships
In many cases, people dealing with compulsive shopping have strained relationships with their spouses, relatives, and friends. Getting professional support can help you to make amends and rebuild your relationships. Shopping addiction counseling can provide you with the tools you need to reconnect with your loved one in ways that dont involve shopping or spending money.
Impulsive Vs Compulsive Shopping
Impulse buying is when you purchase something you didnt plan to. That can be small like gum in the checkout line or bigger like an expensive leather jacket that catches your eye in the display when youre at the mall. The truth is, most of us do this, at least on those small items, once in a while.
Impulse purchases might seem harmless, but they can really add updraining your wallet and even leading to buyers remorse. Plus, they show you arent truly controlling all your money.
Compulsive shopping, though, is a pattern of problems. Compulsive shoppers plan their shopping. Its not on a whim, its with a reason.
That reason can be to ignore a problem or relieve stressbut, of course, compulsive shopping actually causes more problems and more stress. Why? Because compulsive shopping is a continual out-of-control behavior.
While impulse shopping is usually mindless, compulsive shopping is an addiction.
Make Changes In Your Daily Routine
If you want to break free from your addiction, you need to make changes in your daily routine.
Why do you think you go shopping in the first place? Is there a certain frame of mind you take when you go to the store? Do you find that you only go shopping when you are stressed? Do you find yourself suddenly at the store when you are going through a difficult time? If so, you need to make changes in your daily routine.
Start by writing down all the times you go to the store. Then, figure out why you go to the store at that time. If you want to stop yourself from going to the store, you should change the order of your daily routine. That way, you won’t find yourself at the store every day. The only way you were going to make changes in your shopping habits is if you address the reasons why you go shopping in the first place. One of the easiest ways to do exactly that is to make changes in your daily routine. If you need help changing your routine, consider talking to your family members and friends. If you spend more time with them, you may spend less time at the store.
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Shopping Addiction In The Uk
It is estimated that there are between 200,000 and 350,000 shopping addicts in the UK. This equates to around 0.75% of the population. Women are more likely to suffer from compulsive shopping than men, with estimates suggesting that up to 90% of sufferers are women. There are various possible reasons for this demographic split, including societal pressure and marketing techniques, but the outcomes are the same regardless of gender.
Tell Someone You Trust
When struggling with shopping addiction, it helps to have social support. Telling someone you trust ensures that you are not alone. This person may assist by checking in, sharing advice , help with whatever goals and objectives you set, and hold you accountable. The truth is that there will be difficult times throughout recovery. To best prevent lapse or relapse, it helps to have someone there.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Shopping Addiction
Shopping addiction involves a combination of compulsive, or repetitive, and impulsive, or spontaneous, behaviors. According the 2012 review, the following can be signs or symptoms of shopping addiction:
- A preoccupation with shopping or spending money
- Intrusive thoughts and urges before the shopping process
- Buying items you cant afford, or buying items you dont really need
- Variations in mood during the shopping process, such as feeling relieved after spending money, but then feeling guilt or frustration later on
- Financial, school, or work problems as a result of spending too much money, as well as too much time dedicated to shopping behaviors
- Strained interpersonal and family relationships
- The inability to stop compulsive shopping behaviors, even if the affected person knows that it has negative effects on their life
Shopping secretly can be another indicator of shopping addiction, as people conceal their purchases out of guilt, says Schiff.
Other research has noted that compulsive behaviors seen in shopping addiction are similar to those seen in other additions, including gambling disorders and sexual addictions.
Remove Your Credit Cards
If youre like most people, youve entered and saved your information on your favorite retailers sites so you can check out with the click of a single button. This makes it all too easy to plop something in your shopping cart and check out before youve really thought about the purchase.
Deleting all your saved credit cards means that when you want to make a purchase, you have to physically get up, get your wallet or purse, and then enter in your shipping and billing information. These few extra minutes, and the resulting annoyance, might be all you need to decide you dont want to bother with the purchase at all.
Another benefit of deleting your saved credit cards is that it will reduce your risk of identity theft. Retailers are victimized by hackers all the time, and when a data breach occurs, you wont have to worry about it.
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Shopping Addiction Help: Ways To Cope With Compulsion
It can be hard to live with a shopping addiction since spending money is almost unavoidable. However, both self-help techniques and professional treatment can result in healthier practices. Some of the things you may find helpful are:
These tips will help you get a grip on your spending. However, they wont get to the root of your addiction, so you should use them while you seek shopping addiction counseling. Its rare for someone struggling with compulsive buying to seek inpatient treatment. Shopping addiction should ultimately be treated with outpatient counseling and behavioral therapy.
What Are Three Things That Shopping Addicts Do
A shopping addict might exhibit the following behaviours:
- Buy something new every day or once a week until it becomes an obsession for you.
- To alleviate stress, go shopping.
- Use your credit cards up to their maximum limits or open new accounts without paying off your existing balances.
- After making purchases, one should experience intense euphoria or excitement.
- Spend money on things you don’t need or buy things that end up collecting dust.
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Stop Your Online Shopping Addiction
With just a few initial steps youll be on your way to controlling and stopping your online shopping addiction. Never be afraid to ask for help from family and friends it often helps to have someone who keeps you in check and who wants the best for you. Additionally, there are plenty of self-help books and apps like BlockSite that can help curb the addiction. Just remember these things take time and to be patient with yourself. Its never easy but its always worth it. Good luck!
The Consequences Of Phone Addiction
If you dont think phones can be as bad for you as cigarettes, you may be surprised. Chronic phone use has been shown to alter our brain chemistry, such as causing GABA dysfunction and a loss of Grey Matter in the brain . Researchers have noted that both brain changes are highly similar to those who struggle with substance use disorders.
But its not just ourselves that phone addiction harms. We can become so distracted by our phones that we often fail to see the most basic things, sometimes at great cost to others. One extreme example involved security camera footage from San Francisco public transit, which revealed that a shooter could pull out his gun and handle it at length without anyone noticing before he eventually shot a fellow passenger. Being distracted from our immediate environment can mean the difference between life and death.
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How Therapy Supports Addiction Recovery
It can sometimes feel like the list of things required to build and maintain a life in addiction recovery is unending. Treatment, recovery groups, working with a sponsor, completing tasks assigned by their sponsor, and giving back to the community can feel like a lot on top of your regular obligations. It can be tempting to try to eliminate something from your schedule. Unfortunately, sometimes people choose to eliminate one of the most important aspects of recovery: individual therapy.
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Established in 1988 by Peter and Dr Margaret McCann, Castle Craig is a residential rehab, complete with medically managed detox centre, that treats people suffering from alcohol and drug addictions, many of whom have other complex illnesses and mental health issues.
Castle Craig Hospital is located in the stunning countryside of the Scottish Borders, just 40 minutes drive from Edinburgh, one hour from Glasgow and two hours from Newcastle. Our 50 acres of parkland and woods is a relaxed and tranquil environment conducive to healing and recovery.
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How Are Our Shopping Addictions Affecting The Planets
Environmental experts say that simply extending a garments average lifespan by 3 months could cut the carbon, water and waste footprints of the clothing industry by up to 10%. But could our ever more conspicuous consumption be damaging us, as well as the environment? Bearing in mind that the average woman will spend 4 days of each year deciding what to wear, it seems it could be depriving us of sleep, at the very least. So is it time to say, enough is enough? Do we need to reign in our compulsive sopping habits?
We spoke to two fashion and beauty professionals who, between them, have managed to clock up 22 shopping-free months, to find out what theyve learnt from their experiences and why they think you should join them in their mission to stop shopping
Joanna McGarry, beauty director-at-large for Stylist magazine, is 10 months into her self-imposed shopping embargo. Her reasons for swearing off clothes are two-fold, she tells us. Having recently married, bought a flat and begun a second degree, her previous patterns of spending are no longer even in the vicinity of what is possible or sensible or doable, she says. But reading a book whilst on honeymoon, about our obsession with accumulating material goods, clinched the deal for her.
Figure Out Your Triggers & Develop Healthy Coping Mechanisms
Triggers are anything that lead toward an urge to shop. For example, a shopping buddy who is also a compulsive shopper might not be the most positive influence. Walking around the shopping mall might not be the best place to clock steps. And lamenting over the one missing color in your ROYGBIV wardrobe, might lead you to a craving. It helps having healthier coping mechanisms in place. These may include exercising, reading, writing, deep breathing, listening to music, playing music, meditating, praying, and many others.
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How Do I Know Whether I Have A Shopping Addiction Or Just Like To Go On Shopping Sprees
It can sometimes be difficult to determine the difference between enjoying a shopping spree and having a chronic shopping addiction. While there are similarities between the two, key factors setting them apart include:
Shopping spree – during a shopping spree, you may be more likely to spend larger sums of money than usual, or buy more items than you would during a typical shopping trip, although this will only extend to the amount of money you can afford to spend.
Shopping sprees also tend to happen on occasion, and will often take place around an annual holiday or special event, including during Christmas season or when you are buying presents for a family members birthday.
Shopping addiction – taking place at any time and often being part of a routine as opposed to an activity out of normal behaviour, signs of a shopping addiction include spending more money than you can afford on desired items, simply because you feel an urge to have them.
A shopping addiction may involve several shopping trips within a short period of time, each characterised by excessive and compulsive shopping habits which are often paid for with a range of credit or store credit cards.
Compulsive shopping is linked to many other psychiatric conditions which can be part of a dual diagnosis alongside shopping addiction, including:
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
- Gambling addiction
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
Shopping Addiction: What Causes It
Theres not a single known cause of shopping addiction, but there may be several contributing factors.
While the developers of the DSM-5 have chosen not to include shopping addiction, the 2014 review notes that some of the symptoms of craving and withdrawal some people experience could be similar to other addictions. Shopping can act as a distraction from unpleasant emotions, explains Schiff. She adds that addiction involves both physical and psychological factors. Physically, the brain chemicals released during shopping can give people a high, she explains, while psychologically, people may shop for things to help them cope with stress or feel a sense of control.
Stress and anxiety are the most significant underlying causes of shopping addiction, adds Sehat. Many people turn to gratifying behaviors as coping mechanisms, she says. The endorphins released make the individual feel happy and less stressed.
The aforementioned 2021 statement from the APA suggested that theres evidence that social isolation and stress may increase the risk of developing a shopping addiction. These dynamics could have been at play while many people spent more time at home, carrying extra stressors, and in isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic and could have plausibly caused an increase in these types of behaviors. The authors of the paper noted, however, that this is just a theory, and currently theres no hard evidence to say one way or the other that this happened.
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Treatment For Shopping Addiction
Like other forms of addiction, compulsive shopping disorder is a disease. Further, people with shopping addiction may suffer from mental health concerns or other forms of addiction, such as alcohol use or compulsive gambling.
Uncovering the root of the problem will help lower the risk that it will return later in life. Counseling and a supportive group of people who have been there themselves and truly understand can make all the difference in the world.
1 Black, D. A Review of Compulsive Buying Disorder. World Psychiatry 6.1. 2007.
How Does Shopping Addiction Interact With Drug Addiction
Just like with any other addiction, shopping addiction can lead to difficulties with managing negative emotions like anxiety and depression. Those with shopping addiction who are unable to cope with these emotions may start using drugs and alcohol to self-medicate their symptoms. For instance, a person who comes home after a day-long shopping spree may start feeling guilty and remorseful about their spending and use drugs and alcohol to escape their negative feelings. The presence of another addiction or mental health disorder in addition to shopping addiction is known as a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis and can be treated at the same time as a shopping addiction.
On the other hand, people in recovery from drug addiction may use shopping as a way to cope with negative emotions or withdrawal symptoms that linger as part of post-acute withdrawal syndrome, or PAWS. Depression, anxiety, and mood disorders are common PAWS symptoms for those recovering from opioid and stimulant addiction. These individuals may use shopping as a way to relieve symptoms, not knowing their behaviors could trigger another addiction.
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Is Being A Shopaholic Truly An Addiction
For me, I started to notice that I felt out of sorts on days when I didnt shop online. Its like I missed my shopping fix, and it didnt feel quite right.
Then there was a time when the Canadian dollar was on par with the US dollar, and thats when my shopping addiction got out of control. I would make multiple trips to the USA exclusively to shop.
I was spending thousands of dollars on designer shoes and handbags because I was able to get them on sale in the US .
Many of the items I purchased were on impulse and without thinking. While I initially felt a rush of excitement when buying something, it quickly turned into feelings of guilt afterwards. I wasnt able to control my emotions. This is when I knew I had a shopping problem.
Spotting Shopping Addiction In Someone Else
If you are worried that someone you know may be struggling with an addiction to shopping, there are also some signs to look out for:
- A loved one purchasing particularly expensive items or spending more money than they can afford
- Constantly talking about shopping or making purchases that they dont need
- Hiding receipts or lying about what they have bought
- Being secretive about their finances
- Missing work, school or other commitments in order to go shopping
- Neglecting their personal appearance or hygiene
- Appearing anxious or agitated if they cant go shopping
- Borrowing money to pay for purchases
If someone you know is addicted to shopping, it is important to be supportive without enabling their behaviour. This can be a difficult balance to strike because your loved one may be in serious financial difficulties as a result of their shopping addiction and may become angry or distressed if you wont help. Make sure you stay strong and remember that you are acting with their best interests at heart. Here are some ways to ensure you are not enabling their addiction:
- Avoid giving them money to spend on shopping
- Dont go with them to the shops or help them carry their purchases
- Encourage them to talk about how they are feeling rather than buying things to make them feel better
- Help them to find other activities that they enjoy and make time for these in their life
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