What happens when shopping gets out of control, and in some cases, becomes an addiction?
Shopping can be called one of the favorite pastimes for millions of people. For most people, it means some new clothes for work or a small present for a friend. For others, however, shopping is much more than an enjoyable pastime, and in some cases, it is a real and destructive addiction that can turn into a financial disaster.
Like other addictions, excessive shopping, sometimes refererend to as “shopoholism” has basically to do with impulsiveness and lack of control over one’s impulses.
No one knows what causes addictive behaviors, like shopping, alcoholism, drug abuse, and gambling. Some of the new evidence suggests that some people, may have a genetic predisposition to an addictive behavior, coupled with an environment in which the particular behavior is triggered, but no one really knows why.
While the origin of addictions remains uncertain, the question why addicts continue their destructive behaviors is better understood. Addictif people will get some kind of high from behavior like shopping, mening it simply feels good, and if it feels good they are more likely to do it, it’s reinforced.
So what are the signs that shopping has crossed the line and become an addiction?
There are signs on which you can identity a shopoholic, like other addicts. For instance, shopoholics will hide their purchases, like alcoholics hide their bottles. What should a concerned family member or friend look out for when they think shopping has become a problem?
Spending over budget
Often shopoholics will spend over their budget and get into deep financial trouble, spending well above their income. He or she will not recognize the boundaries of a budget.
When a person with a shopping addiction goes shopping, they often compulsively buy, meaning, they go for one pair of shoes and come out with several. It’s a chronic problem.
Hiding the problem
Shopoholics will hide their purchases because they don’t want to be criticized, They may have secret credit card accounts, too. Because this problem affects mostly women, as alcoholism affects mostly men, husbands will all of sudden be told their wife is heavely in debt. Many times, this comes out in divorce.
A vicious circle
Some people will take their purchases back because they feel guilty. In these cases, debt may not be an issue because they’re consistently returning everything out of guilt but the problem still exists.
It’s just like any other addiction, it has nothing to do with how much a person shops or spends, and has everything to do with consequences. If a person around the holidays or christmas spent more money than he or she intended, does this make thema’s an addict? The answer is no. However, if there is a pattern or a trend or consequences that occur with excessive shopping then the person may be a problem spender. If they are no longer in control of their shopping but their shopping is in control of them, they’ve crossed the line.
These behaviors can also signal a serious problem
- Shopping or spending money as a result of feeling angry, depressed, or lonely
- Having arguments with others about their shopping habits
- Feeling lost without credit cards
- Buying items on credit, rather than cash
- Describing a rush or a feeling of euphoria with spending
- Feeling guilty, ashamed, or embarrassed after spending too much
- Lying about how much money was spent
- Thinking obsessively about money
If someone identifies two or more of of these behaviors, there may be a serious problem.
When a friend or family member recognizes a shopping addiction, start getting professional help. The problem will not salve itself. And as with every addiction the shopoholic won’t recognise it her or himselve.