Shopping Addiction

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Most people like to shop, and need to, but for some an obsession to “shop ‘till they drop” takes over and causes then to rack up credit cards and overspend to a point in which their behaviors lead to many adverse consequences. Shopping addiction has many of the same characteristics as any substance abuse addiction in terms of the effects shopping has on the addict.

Compulsive shopping can be a seasonal disorder (often around the holidays) or it can be an on-going disorder. The excessive need that shopaholics feel for the “pick me up” that comes from shopping can lead to an overabundance of purchases, typically that have little or no need or necessity for the shopper beside that they wanted the item so they purchased it.

What is Shopping Addiction?

Shopping addiction actually has a technical term that is called Omniomania. This means compulsive shopping and is perhaps the most socially reinforced of the behavioral addictions. Shopping addiction is characterized by the widespread desire to shop and purchase items despite a need for such items or despite a necessary ability to afford such items. Consumerism is one of the biggest measures of social elite in America and this makes shopping addiction an even more widespread problem for many.

Shopping addiction is not a newfound disorder. It has affected millions of people for many years and dates back to as early as the 19th century. Friends and family members go out and shop together, people shop socially, people shop for something to do and people shop to fulfill negative emotions. An addiction to shopping leads to compulsive shopping that can result in many negative feelings. Over 5% of Americans are affected by compulsive buying disorder.

Effects of Shopping Addiction

Compulsive shopping disorder has many negative consequences that can be physical, financial, and emotional and otherwise hindering to the addict.

Some of the effects of shopping addiction include:

Recognizing the Signs of Shopping Addiction

A concerned friend or family member may be able to quickly and easily spot the signs of a shopping addiction even before the addict himself can notice such signs.

Some of the signs of shopping addiction include:

Additional Signs or Behaviors that Could be a Sign of Shopping Addiction

If you show any of these additional signs or behaviors, you could have a significant problem that warrants the need for intervention, counseling or treatment for a shopping addiction:

Difference Between a Shopping Spree & Shopping Addiction

Not all people who go out on a spending spree are shopaholics. Some can go out and spend moderately or even a bit more than moderately and sill not be considered addicts. Others who shop may have an uncontrollable desire and urge to shop that is conclusive to a shopping addiction.

There are differences between shopping sprees and shopping addiction:

Help for Shopping Addiction

There are many ways that you can change your behavior or limit your shopping to reduce the negative impact of shopping.

For instance, some of the basic behaviors that can be changed to eliminate a shopping addiction include:

Support Groups for Shopping Addiction

The following support groups could help you or someone you love overcome a shopping addiction or at least get their addiction under control. Some of the groups focus on completely not shopping at all while others approach the legal, financial or relationship issues that surround a typically shopping addiction.

You may find help in one or all of the following shopping addiction support groups:

Treatment for Shopping Addiction

Researchers indicate that as many as 75% of shoppers who are compulsive shoppers will admit to a problem but they don’t know how to get help. Shopaholics have problems with their friends, family members, finances and general relationships. Although there are many reasons that an individual may shop and each of these reasons can lead to a different method of treatment the general options for treatment of shopping addiction include:

How you can help a family member who is a shopaholic

Family members and loved ones who are addicted to shopping need as much help as they can get when it comes to curing their addiction. Many times, shopping addiction will lead to hoarding which is an obsessive-compulsive disorder that is associated with keeping everything. Some hoarders are collectors and only hoard certain things while others may hoard just about anything from a new item to a box or bag that an item came into the trash from yesterday’s meal. Hoarding can be a very dangerous condition that can lead to fire hazards in homes, dangerous living spaces and disease or infestations that can make the individual sick.

Help from Friends:

Tips for Avoiding a Shopping Binge

Recovery from shopping addiction has a long and difficult road that is often plagued by the urge to spend. You can avoid a shopping binge by taking part in other actions, distracting yourself and trying to find a better way to manage your urge or to control your desire to shop.

Here are a few tips that you can use to avoid a shopping binge:

All of these tips can help you to spend less money, avoid havoc and prevent over shopping. Shopping addiction is difficult to cope with and in some cases, even the support that you receive from friends or family just won’t be enough. If you find that you need additional support, there are various shopping addiction support groups that focus on impulsive shopping, debt and other problems associated with shopping which may be of help to you.