There you are. You’re in a store. You told yourself that you were just going to go window shopping or to browse around. You see a pretty sweater, and you know you shouldn’t have. Yet, you left the store spending $100 or more. You feel good now. You found your high. Then, you went home and you fell apart.
You found yourself feeling guilty about spending so much money, or you are upset over what you consider to be your lack of self-control. You may not be aware that shopping is your addiction.
You’re not an alcoholic. You’re not a drug addict but, perhaps, you may be a shopping addict.
According to WebMD, a shopping addiction is any addiction where a person spends money to purchase things to produce a feeling of joy or relief from negative feelings of anger or depression. The actual act of shopping produces chemicals and hormonal responses in the body that can elevate a person’s mood, up until the point that they realize how much he or she has spent.
Unlike a typical spending spree, a shopping addiction controls a person’s life leaving them unable to cope with their negative feelings unless they shop, because it is a compulsion. Also, shopping addictions occur more often than spending sprees, which are usually once in a while, such as during a holiday sale.
With the onset of the recession, many people with shopping addictions who are unemployed may be suffering more severe effects of their addictions, because the decrease of their finances may produce an increased amount of stress, the very thing that may be causing their addiction. Ironically, not having as much money drives some shopping addicts to spend even more money that they don’t have just to feel better.
Shopping addictions can negatively impact relationships as a result of the deceptive tactics used to the hide the problem. People suffering from shopping addictions may hide purchases in the garage, even more so, when they do not have gainful employment.
The way to minimize or completely eradicate a shopping addiction is to honestly examine the cause of it in the first place. For most people, any form of addiction is an extension of a deeper emotional or internal problem.
These internal issues can range from feelings of inadequacy or low self-esteem, or maybe a simple lack of happiness or satisfaction with the current state of one’s life. The shopping is the drug used to compensate for the lack. In a turn, a shopping addict has to take steps to avoid turning themselves against themselves.
Since most people are well aware that they have a shopping addiction problem or in denial of their problem with shopping addiction, the first step is staring at the problem directly and to begin to analyze the causes.
For many, shopping addictions are caused by lack of emotional peace. To regain this emotional peace, shopping addicts should begin meditating 5 minutes prior to making a purchase. Ask yourself, why do I want this so badly?
To counteract your compulsion to purchase, place the item on hold, if possible, and sleep on your thoughts about why you want a certain item for at least 24 hours. Instead of perusing shopping websites, visit local gossip website, or informative websites for the local news.
Be wary of external competition with other shoppers, which can help to trigger the negative effects of your shopping addiction. Often, we may not want certain items until someone else appears to be purchasing the very thing that we were hesitantly considering.
If you are a recovering shopping addict, know that there may be times when you may fall off the wagon. Do not berate yourself for making a mistake, or your lack of perfection. Just start over.
You may need to cut all credit cards with the exception of the one with the lowest balance for emergency situations. Force yourself to carry cash, which is more difficult to spend then charging purchases.
Place yourself on a shopping diet, where no purchases can be made until you have allotted a certain amount of your unemployment benefit money to basic household necessities and at least the minimum on all of your credit card bills, if you have them.
While there may be no simple cure for a shopping addiction, like any other addiction, a shopping addiction can be overcome one step at a time. When all else fails, do not be afraid to seek professional help for additional support.
Harry Croft, MD. ” Shopping Addiction (Compulsive Shopping).” HealthyPlace.
Heather Hatfield, ” Shopping Spree, or Shopping Addiction?” WebMD.