When Shopping is Out of Control: Signs You Might be a Shopaholic

When Shopping is Out of Control: Signs You Might be a Shopaholic

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When Shopping is Out of Control: Signs You Might be a Shopaholic

Shopping is something that most people do often. Whether it is a trip to the grocery store, shopping for an outfit for a specific event, or buying Christmas gifts online, shopping is a part of life. Since it is now possible to shop with just a few clicks of the keyboard or a simple keystroke. Shopping is even easier now than at any other time in life. Unfortunately, like so many other basic activities, shopping can become a problem and even an addiction. How do you know when shopping has become addictive? Read on to learn the signs and treatment for shopping addiction – signs you might be a shopaholic.

What is Shopping Addiction

A shopping addict is someone who shops compulsively. This person may feel like they have no control over their shopping behaviors. There are several different kinds of shopping addiction. These include compulsive shopping. Usually occurring when emotional distress is felt and trophy shopping for those shopaholics who are continually looking for the perfect item. There are those who shop to keep up the image of being a big spender or love flashy items, and those who are bargain seekers who buy simply because things are on sale. Furthermore, there are bulimic shoppers who get in the cycle of buying and returning. While there are others who are collectors, needing an item in every color or a complete set. Each form of the addiction is an actual addiction that can lead to problems.

Causes of Shopping Addiction

Exactly why people become addicted to shopping is unclear. However, some believe it is because of the feelings they receive when shopping. This is a chemical reaction in the brain that releases dopamine to make people feel relaxed. Over time, these feelings can become addictive. One study claims that up to 10 to 15 percent of the population worldwide may have a predisposition to these feelings of relaxation, euphoria, and well-being.

Signs of being a Shopaholic

Identifying a shopaholic may be difficult. As shopping is a necessity of life, and one many people adore, the symptoms may be subtle at first. Those who love shopping may adore the activity and spend too much when they go. Some may even go on the occasional shopping spree. However, this is not a real issue. Although, when it goes to far, an addiction may be present.

The first symptom is that that is common to all addicts, hiding the addiction. Look for your loved one to hide credit card bills, shopping bags, and receipts on a regular basis. This can be even more subtle in that the person may admit to shopping, but lie about how much was spent. Other emotional symptoms include shopping as a response to being angry or depressed. Also, spending more than can be afforded, or even shopping as a way to feel less guilty about other shopping trips. As the addiction grows the person may lose control of their shopping behaviors, harming loved ones by spending excessive amounts of time shopping.

Shockingly, there are also physical signs of a shopping addiction. Though only one that is notable, a declining financial situation. A shopping addict may have started with a decent amount of money, but may quickly buy their way into debt and continue to spend.

Effects of being a Shopaholic

There are both short and long term effects of being a shopaholic. The first is that though you may feel happy and relaxed after a shopping trip, the feeling is short lived and anxiety or guilt sets in, forcing you back for further shopping. Long term effects are often related to intensifying debt and financial problems.

Treatment Options

When Shopping is Out of Control: Signs You Might be a Shopaholic

Though shopping addiction has no specific treatment as far as medication, some see benefits in taking anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications. There is hope that an Alzheimer’s drug called memantine can be of some help, but research is limited. Just as with all addictions, the shopaholic may have withdrawal symptoms. This means that a treatment facility in which talk therapy is available may be in order. If you or a loved one need help then DARA may be a viable option for affordable care and help. Do not be afraid to ask for the help you need.

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Anne -

Anne Lazarakis joined the DARA Rehab team from Sydney, Australia. She writes about addiction and mental health on a global, local and community level. She also relays personal accounts of substance abuse and recovery through the stories of our clients, their families and our own team members.
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