Last updated: 02/13/2019
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Shopping addiction can wreak havoc on your life, your finances, your relationships and your own personal well-being. If you are addicted to shopping, there are steps that you can take to recover and to get back on track but it’s important to know that recovery will take time. According to the US National Library of Medicine, while there is little doubt that shopping can be an addictive activity, little research has been completed to back the means of treatment that are used to help those in recovery. What this means is that you may go through a number of different treatment programs before you find treatment that really works for you—the most important thing to consider is that there is help and you can get your life back!
The first step to recovering from an addiction to shopping is to identify the triggers that cause you to spend money. Because this addiction is an emotional disease, the triggers are likely related to emotions. These triggers may be related to the emotions that you feel when you shop or they may be related to emotions that you are trying to cover up through shopping. By identifying what it is that causes you to feel the urge to shop you can begin to work on overcoming those urges through control, avoidance and improved behaviors.
Figuring Out the Need
Shopping fills some need for you—but what is it? If you can figure out what it is that you are trying to fulfill through shopping then you can be better prepared to overcome the addiction to shopping. There is some psychological purpose for your shopping that is fulfilled when you spend money or buy certain things. Maybe you were abandoned when you were younger, maybe you suffered a tragic loss, maybe you have had a divorce. Any of these situations could be at the root of your shopping addiction and could be the primary psychological need that you are trying to fulfill.
Replacing Bad Habits
A bad habit is an action that is performed routine which poses a risk or becomes a problem to the individual performing the action. Even healthy routines that are overdone or taken to an excessive nature can become bad habits. It’s important to replace your bad habits such as habitual spending with healthy habits. Instead of spending or shopping excessively, maybe you should exercise or find other ways to fulfill the needs that you have without posing risks to your finances, relationships or own psychological well-being. You must learn how to realize that your continued shopping could ruin your finances, relationships and your life—then you must stop!
There may be triggers in your environment that cause you to shop more than you should. Do you watch television and aspire to purchase items that you see on commercials? If so, you should watch less television to help you cut back on environmental cues that cause you to have shopping urges. Do you take to the mall every Saturday afternoon? You could easily not go to the mall and this could help you to cut back on the environmental factors that are contributing to your shopping addiction.
Recovering from an addiction to shopping will take time and even after you have figured out what it is that caused the addiction, what it is that makes you want to shop and what environmental factors make matters worse you could still find that you have continued cravings and urges to spend. Support groups can help in your recovery from an addiction to shopping by providing you with the peer-to-peer support that you need to have continued control over your urge to shop.
Counseling is also beneficial in the recovery process. Through counseling you can also be connected with group counseling and support where you can work with others who are also suffering from compulsive disorders such as a shopping addiction or similar bad habits. Through support, education and an understanding of the triggers that cause your urge to shop you can make a full recovery from this emotional disease and get your life back on track.