When addiction is discussed, people typically bring up topics such as various drugs and alcohol. Other behavioral addictions are often overlooked, such as being a shopping addict. However, shopping addiction is known to affect at least 5% of people all over the world. This problem has become exacerbated by today’s world of online shopping and express delivery. While many may not view shopping as an addiction, it can be just as harmful. Learning to deal with a shopping addiction in the modern world of technology where everything is available at the push of a button may be difficult, but it is possible.
Defining Shopping Addiction
It should be noted that there is a distinct difference between the occasional shopping spree and a shopping addiction. A shopping addiction is distinguished by the severe cravings towards wanting to shop. A person with an addiction to shopping will often spend more they can afford, maxing out credit cards and causing themselves guilt. This guilt can cause them to shop more to feel better, thus creating a vicious cycle.
Shopping can be used to cope with mental illness, such as depression and anxiety. However, it only helps for a small amount of time. This is because constant shopping can cause financial trouble, problems with family and/or friends, a loss of control, and chronic stress.
The New World Of Online Shopping
Over the last two decades, life has shifted to the online world of computers, tablets, and smartphones. When this first began, many people believed that those with shopping addictions would be less at risk to shop excessively because they wouldn’t be bothered by in-person salespeople and elaborate gimmicks. However, over time, this became a false assumption as click baits and other online advertisements began popping up. Studies have found that a handful of individuals have developed a shopping addiction because of online shopping.
Being a shopping addict can cause a variety of problems for a person. Just as with any addiction, there are red flags associated with shopping addictions. Most of these warning signs are associated with mental health and an individual’s personal life, such as financial distress and damaged relationships. Such warning signs include but are not limited to:
- Not being able to stop spending even if you want to
- Constantly thinking about shopping
- Being approached by loved ones with concerns about your spending
- Feeling euphoric after each shopping spree
- Experiencing anger or sadness if you cannot shop
- Feeling guilty after shopping
- Buying things you don’t need or cannot afford
- Lying or stealing in order to keep shopping
- Increasing debt that you are unable to pay off
- Having trouble in relationships, with work, or with your financials
- Hiding things you purchased from loved ones due to guilt
- Using shopping as a form of therapy
Effects Of A Shopping Addiction
Shopping addictions progress over time, such as with drug or alcohol addictions. This causes both short and long term effects in the person’s life, getting worse as the addiction progresses.
Short Term Effects
A person that is in the midst of developing a shopping addiction often does not realize it as they try to push away any negative feelings. They may feel good after a shopping spree, but will often have repressed feelings of guilt, regret, or anxiety. These negative feelings will cause them to want to shop more to cope with them, thus causing a cycle.
Long Term Effects
One of the most common long term effects of a shopping addiction is problems with financials. Many shopping addicts have several maxed-out credit cards or have even taken drastic steps such as taking a second mortgage on their house. Relationships also become strained over time as friends and family become distant or upset about your spending habits.
Treating someone for a shopping addiction often depends on the person and their reasoning for shopping so excessively. Many shopping addicts have an underlying mental disorder that causes them to shop more, meaning therapy or medication could be of some help. Behavioral therapy and individual therapy are recommended for shopping addicts as they teach impulse control and how to better manage themselves.
Another option for helping a shopping addict recover is to have a trusted person control their finances. The addict can be cut off from cash flow, only having a certain allowance per week or month to help them budget better and avoid unnecessary purchases.
Treatment helps the person face their addiction head-on, learning what is causing it, and how to cope with the negative feelings in a healthier, more manageable way. While in treatment, they will identify what their triggers are and create a prevention plan to avoid and cope with them in the future.
Outpatient treatment, like Create Recovery Center, can help someone deal with processing their triggers in real-time. While treating the underlying causes of addiction, Create Recovery Center cultivates an environment of safety for someone to face their addictions. Many people struggle with multiple addictions or co-occurring disorders. This is common for many people who may have, say, shopping addiction and alcohol addiction. Create Recovery is equipped to help an individual address a person from a holistic perspective.
Shopping addiction has taken a new form in today’s world of online stores and instant delivery. When online shopping was first created, many people believed that shopping addictions would slow down since you are not around pushy salespeople and big advertisements. However, click baits and other online advertisements have only increased cases of online shopping, affecting at least 5% of the population. Warning signs of shopping addiction can be spotted, allowing the person to receive help. Treatment options include therapy, medication, or having a trusted loved one control the person’s finances. At Create Recovery Center, we understand the damage addiction can have on a person’s life. Anyone struggling with an addiction deserves to be treated with respect and by professionals who understand. By working with the individual and learning how to manage the addiction, we place our patients on the road to recovery, promoting sobriety for the long haul. Call us today at 855.508.0143 to learn more.