Shopping addiction is not a joke, it is not something that
is a minor source of irritation between families and it is not a uniquely
female problem. Individuals with shopping addictions, also known as
shopaholics, have a compulsion to simply buy things as a way to fill a void in
their life. Shopping addictions may be part of the way that a person is taught
to celebrate success or they may be a result of a serious emptiness that has
become overwhelming in a person’s life.
Often shopping addictions are seen as a minor problem,
something to be teased about or even rewarded, at least initially. After all
how many times have you heard people talking about going out for a bit of
“retail therapy” when they really mean that if you don’t feel good go
buy something that makes you feel good. After a few shopping trips when you
feel bad you may begin to shop compulsively when you aren’t happy about life.
The action of buying an inanimate object becomes a substitute for praise,
acceptance or feelings of self-worth and value.
Shopaholics or shopping addicts tend to have several
characteristics in common. Consider the following questions about your spending
habits and honestly think about the response you give.
- Do I shop when I feel depressed, sad or angry to
make myself feel better?
- Do I spend money on things I really can’t
- Do I stay within my budget when I shop or do I
buy things because I have to have them regardless of the cost?
- Do I hide my shopping behavior, lie about the
prices I pay or have hidden accounts to pay for my shopping habits?
- Will I shop when I should be doing something
- Have I ever stolen a credit card or money from a
friend or a loved one to spend on a purchase?
- Do I have multiple credit cards that I use to
keep my head above water?
- Do I feel guilty about shopping and buying items
on a regular basis?
If you answered yes to one or more questions you may have a
shopping addiction. In addition if your relationships are stressed or strained
because of shopping, hiding purchases or juggling accounts to cover the
spending it is essential to seek help from an addiction therapist before there
are serious financial and personal repercussions.