Last updated: 11/9/2018
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
As harmless an activity as shopping may be, some people are unable to set limits on how much to buy and when to stop. Like other addictions, an addiction to shopping becomes an out-of-control pursuit that can have damaging effects on a person’s life.
Shopping addiction treatment works in much the same way as any other form of addiction treatment. Depending on the person, some people may require medications to treatment underlying problems while others may benefits from psychotherapy treatment. As financial problems are often a result of out-of-control spending, the sooner a person gets shopping addiction treatment the better.
Compulsive Buying Disorder
Shopping addiction, also known as omniomania, affects as much as six percent of the U.S. population according to a Michigan State University report. Of this six percent, 80 percent are women. Shopping’s accepted role in everyday life makes this activity one of the most accepted addictions in the world. Not surprisingly, this condition has its very own diagnosis known as compulsive buying disorder.
Marketing and advertising strategies tap directly into the consumer’s need to feel happy and successful. Shopaholics can be particularly vulnerable to these marketing messages. As a result, people with shopping addictions end up spending excessive amounts of money they don’t have. Financial, relationship and workplace problems are the result.
More oftentimes than not, the thrill and excitement of shopping becomes a way many shopaholics cope with life’s difficulties, while creating a whole new set of problems in the process. Shopping addiction treatment enables a person to see the effects of shopping on his or her life and find new and healthy ways of managing life’s difficulties and emotional challenges.
Someone addicted to shopping experiences a surge of “feel good” brain chemicals while engaged in the activity. This surge of brain chemicals is not unlike the process that drives drug addictions and alcoholism. While the added drug or alcohol component definitely gives this chemical process a push, it’s the thrill or surge itself that drives the addiction cycle.
Shopping addiction treatment uses psychotherapy methods to get to the root of a person’s addictive behavior. Cognitive behavioral therapies work particularly well with helping a person replace destructive belief systems regarding self and shopping with more healthy coping styles. Over time, shopping addiction treatment helps a person gradually reduce his or her shopping activities to a more acceptable level.
While shopping addictions cause their own sets of problems, underlying psychological problems may sit at the root of a shopping addiction. Someone suffering from depression and/or anxiety disorders may use shopping as a way to cope with feelings of depression, anxiety and inadequacy. Shopping addition treatment methods use medication therapies, such as anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications to treat the symptoms of an underlying condition.
As financial problems often result from a shopping addiction, shopping addiction treatment methods may include a 12-step program, such as Debtors Anonymous. Twelve-step groups provide the type of supports and guidance a person needs to better manage a shopping addiction problem. Twelve-step groups also offer peer supports from people who understand the types of challenges shopaholics face.