Shopping addiction is something that exists within individuals all around the world. In fact, almost everyone knows at least one shopping addict whether they know it or not. This is a powerful addiction and one that can cause financial issues.
For some individuals, there comes a time when the "retail therapy" goes a little too far, which can lead them to regular therapy so they can get over their shopping addiction. A shopping addiction is when someone excessively spends money. They are totally impulsive and out-of-control with buying things. This is a harsh reality for a lot of people. In a culture where it's normal to shop in your free time, it can be difficult to know whether or not you have a habit or if you are addicted to shopping.
If you are not sure whether or not you have a shopping addiction, it is good to see what the experts have to say about it and how to beat it.
The Credit Card Enables
It is easy for a person to be in denial about their compulsive spending when they have a credit card. The card is there, the credit is available, and the compulsive shopper has it in their mind that they will pay it off or that they can afford to go shopping because they don't have to pay the payment all at once.
Experts will agree that the credit card is the shopping addict's best friend because it is what allows them to have the lavish lifestyle they have. At the same time, it is an enemy because of the bill that is received each month.
According to psychotherapists, it is important to remind oneself that it is the credit card that takes away the cash exchange visual. It works the same way as casino chips in Vegas do. It is much easier to throw down a chip than it is to use real cash.
Signs You're Addicted
The 5 signs that you are addicted to shopping are rather frightening and they may make it seem as if there is no hope for recovery. The fact is that there is hope. The signs are:
- You turn to shopping to cope
- You feel out of control when you shop
- The repercussions of compulsive shopping are very serious
- You feel embarrassed about shopping so much
- You get a rush when you shop
Like many addictions, there is a very obsessive quality to addictive shopping. There seems as if there is no control over the action. This lack of control resides in the thoughts that surround it. Following the thoughts is the compulsion. The compulsion leads to the action.
If you have issues with your mood or there are things in life you have difficulty coping with, shopping can be a coping mechanism. This is somewhat why shopping is referred to as "retail therapy." People self-medicate through shopping. An obvious sign of this is when the credit card is taken out on a shopping trip on days where you feel depressed or your self-esteem has taken a hit.
When shopping starts causing financial problems, you are seeing the repercussions. When you shop without having the money to really afford it, it is going to have a serious consequence. There are many shopping addicts that go into bankruptcy because of how often they turned to shopping to receive that temporary fix.
If this still doesn't tell you that there is an issue, you may realize there is one when you are shopping alone and you start to feel embarrassed about it, especially when friends and family know about it. Of course, there is nothing wrong with shopping alone because people do it all of the time. However, the issue here is when you are doing it all of the time to hide it from your loved ones.
Lastly, receiving a "high" or "rush" out of your shopping experiences is a sure sign that you have a shopping addiction. It is important to pay attention to the signs. If you get a high from the hunt for the perfect item, the interaction with the salesperson, and the pleasure of the purchase, you may need to speak with a professional to help you get past shopping addiction.
Beating The Addiction
The first step to beating the addiction is to acknowledge that you have a problem without blaming yourself or feeling guilty. You can acknowledge that the addiction is upsetting and a move that can hurt your family. Also know that you are not alone.
The second step is to become more aware of why you shop the way that you do and what triggers a shopping trip so you can come up with a plan to fix the problem.
It is important to recognize that the compulsive behaviour has roots and those roots may not be your fault. You are responsible for your actions and you can monitor yourself to track the behaviour. You can then make a commitment to be open and honest with at least one person about your addiction. This is a good step toward recovering. This will also help you weed out the deeper reasons why you are putting yourself at financial risk for a fix. This is where you can turn to a professional for help.
To get back on track, just do three things: Review your receipts, put an item on hold or delay your shopping trip, and find healthier methods to beat stress. If stress is the trigger, exercising, spending time with friends, engaging in meaningful activities, and meditating can help.
Shopping addiction can be a very difficult thing to deal with and it is a subject that you may wish to ignore so you don't have to face it. Facing it and employing other stress relieving activities will help you get the spending under control so you don't put your financial well-being at risk any further.