Shopping addiction has many parallels to drug and alcohol addiction. Similarities include the premeditation of one’s actions, spending of time and money, and the obsession to continue shopping regardless of consequences. In some cases, a major contributor to the mental obsession that drives addictive behaviors is the perception that material possessions indicate status.
People who are addicted to shopping sometimes view it as a way to relieve stress. Shopping addicts go through the highs and lows of addiction just as a drug addict or alcoholic would. Although shopping compulsively may not seem to have many effects on a person’s physical health, there are spiritual and mental health detriments. People who suffer from this form of addiction usually have no problem admitting their problem. In most cases, the financial issues become obvious and make denial difficult. Like alcohol and drug addiction, shopping addiction can be treated.
Symptoms of Shopping Addiction
The symptoms of shopping addiction are similar to those of any other addiction. A clear sign that someone is addicted to shopping is that they shop compulsively and often. A person who shops compulsively may attempt to hide their purchases through lying and isolation. Hiding an addiction can eventually affect the addict’s relationships. The addict may find themselves in a vicious and destructive cycle of acting on impulses.
In most cases, a person will continually shop regardless of financial consequences. Remorse is common. A person may return their purchases and may be triggered by these negative feelings to shop again. In instances such as this, financial ruin is not always a consequence because of the cycle of returning materials and having purchases refunded. A person may not always display their compulsive shopping by going out to a store or mall. Online shopping is also a means to appease the impulse to shop, and can be equally dangerous.
Shopping Addiction Treatment
There are options available to the families, friends, and persons affected by shopping addiction. Primarily, it is recommended that the people who are concerned seek professional help. One method to help the addict is to schedule an intervention. By using this method, the people who are affected can explain how the addiction has affected them in a healthy and non-offensive manner.
Another viable option is to refer the addict to a therapist familiar with shopping addiction. Therapist can then help with develop a long-term solution. Debtors Anonymous is a program of people who have suffered from the same disease and found a solution. This is a twelve-step program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous and has proven to help individuals handle their addiction safely.