Shopping is a basic need as we always need to buy something new. There is, however, always a limit to how much we should spend and what purchases are even necessary. Unfortunately, shopping addicts do not have any limits when it comes to spending. Those with an addiction to shopping need a clear understanding on how to budget their spendings or it can damage them financially as well as their relationships.
Compulsive shoppers only shop when they are emotionally upset. Shopaholics want the image of being a big spender and have a passion for flashy items. Bargain seekers purchase items just because they are on sale. Collectors do not feel complete unless they buy every piece in the set or every color. Bulimic shoppers are the ones who tend to buy and then return.
The cause of being a shopping addict, according to Indiana University Professor Ruth Engs, is that shoppers are addicted to how the brain feels afterwards. PyschGuides says that 10%-15% feels their brain releases endorphins and dopamine from the thrill of new purchases. Many feel the need to hide their credit card bills, shopping bags, or receipts from other people such as their spouse or their family in fear of telling them how much they spent. Shopping addicts tend to spend more than they can afford. Shopping can be a way to feel better if people are angry or depressed and need to find an activity to distract them from how they feel.
The consequences that come from too much shopping are feelings of happiness but at the same time feeling anxious or guilty for how much was spent. They can have severe financial problems where they are overwhelmed with debt. This involves having to max out their credit cards, take out a second mortgage on their house, or charges their purchases to business credit cards. Shopping addiction can destroy relationships from spending or shopping too much. They can feel distant from their parents, children, and loved ones.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help addicts identify and change negative thoughts of yourself that contribute to overspending. A financial advisor or a debt counselor can help them make a payment plan to pay back what is owed and fix their credit score. There is also 12 Step Programs like Debtors Anonymous and Spenders Anonymous. Shopping addicts must be treated before there is nothing left in their bank accounts.
Castle Craig Hospital is a landmark of addiction and mental health treatment in Scotland, serving the UK, the EU, and patients from all over the world. Our commitment to long term abstinence has created a successful program of clinical and complementary therapies for mind, body, and spirit. Serving over 10,000 patients for more than 25 years, the Castle Craig model is proven in changing lives. Call our 24 hour free confidential phone-line for information: 0808 231 7723. From outside the UK please call: +44 1721 788 006
Page published: January 22, 2018. Page last reviewed and clinically fact-checked January 29, 2020