Shopping is a necessity and also a favorite past time for many of us but for some, it's an impulsive addictive behavior that's taken over their lives. There are times when we've all gone on shopping sprees and maybe even spent more money than we should have but some people, are unable to control their spending and shop much too often because it makes them feel better.
It doesn't matter if it's a shopping spree or a single purchase it's never enough for a shopaholic because the gratification and fulfillment doesn't last.
Shopping addiction is an illness and like other forms of addiction, can be just as destructive. People that are addicted to shopping are often referred to as shopaholics or spendaholics and impulsively buy things they usually don't need and are really unable to afford. Even if a person addicted to shopping has no financial worries, their impulsive spending can still have a negative impact on their life because addiction is an illness that progresses when left untreated.
Shopaholics receive instant gratification during their shopping binges but the euphoric feelings they experience are usually short-lived. Once the pleasurable feelings begin wear off, the shopping addict might experience a crash and reality may begin to set in. Some people addicted to shopping are filling a void in their lives and have found a way to feel good for the moment by impulsive spending. Shopping addicts don't focus on the fact they may not financially be able to afford their purchases, but are often riddled with guilt or even panic when their done.
Impulsive Spending Online
Compulsive shopping is even easier today than ever before because a person can purchase most anything twenty four hours a day in the privacy of their home. People that are addicted to online shopping often spend hours on end browsing stores and piling up credit card debt putting their other important financial obligations in jeopardy. Many people that are addicted to online shopping try to keep their impulsive spending secretive and only make purchases at night when their spouse or partner is asleep.
Some spendaholics keep their uncontrollable purchases limited to less expensive personal and household items and there even shopping addicts that only purchase items that are on sale, as a way of justifying their impulsive spending. Other compulsive shoppers spend money on expensive jewelry, apparel, vehicles or even more extravagant purchases like real-estate. It's very common among people addicted to shopping to make purchases they're never going to use and some never even take the items out the bags because they weren't necessities, they were purchased out of impulse.
Shopping Addicts are Often Secretive
It's not uncommon for a shopaholic to hide their purchases from a spouse, partner or family and this is especially true if their impulsive spending in the past has been a topic of conversation before. Guilt is another reason shopping addicts keep their purchases hidden from others because they're often overwhelmed with remorse as their impulsive spending progresses.
There are various reasons people can become addicted to shopping such as loneliness, self-esteem issues, depression, and anger. Often underlying issues that have never been addressed can lead to impulsive spending but until a person is able to recognize what has led to their uncontrollable behavior, it's an addiction that's hard to overcome without help.
Shopping Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms
Shopping addiction is a real illness and some people become depressed, irritable, and anxious if they're unable to shop in the stores or online when they feel the need to. Emotions and situations can trigger a person's uncontrollable compulsion to shop as a way of dealing with stress, emptiness or loneliness.
Before some people reach out for help they have to file bankruptcy because their impulsive spending has resulted in extreme debt and lose their homes and other possessions during the process. Relationships are often destroyed if a spouse or partner has a shopping addiction that has jeopardized them financially.
Treating Shopping Addiction
Shopping addiction is an indication that there are underlying issues that need to be addressed but it's also a very treatable condition. The first step is recognizing and acknowledging the fact that you're addicted to shopping which isn't easy to do even if you're about to lose everything. Seeking help and advice from a professional counselor or therapist that specializes in treating addictive disorders is a step in the right direction.
A certified addiction counselor helps people identify reasons behind their impulsive spending because we can't change something we don't recognize and understand first. Everyone is unique in their own way and so are their reasons for impulsive spending. Professional counseling also provides the knowledge and skills a person needs to prevent impulsive spending binges in the future. Shopping and spending money is a part of life, something we have to do. Counseling will provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to overcome impulsive spending and gain control of your life again.