Shopping Addiction: Three Things You Might Not Know

We all shop. Some of us more than others, but it's something that everybody does at some point in time. According to the Huffington Post, the average Amazon Prime member spends around $1,500 a year just on purchases made through Amazon. For some people, though, the urge to shop and buy new things is overpowering and compulsive. They buy things even if they don't necessarily have the funds and don't "need" the item. Here are three things you might not know about shopping addiction

1. Shopping Addiction Defined

Compulsive spending is defined by an overwhelming urge to buy things that persists despite repeated adverse consequences. People who struggle with compulsive shopping behaviors are often attempting to fill an emotional need by accumulating material objects. Shopping may give the person a temporary relief, or even what could be described as a "high". However, these feelings of euphoria and relief are temporary, which leads the person to continue shopping in an attempt to reach those temporary feelings again.

2. Co-occuring conditions

Compulsive shopping is often a symptom for other emotional and mental struggles and experiences. Compulsive shopping may be associated with compulsive hoarding, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, shame, and perfectionism. Individuals struggling with these conditions may engage in compulsive shopping as a way to self-medicate or distract them from their daily struggles.

3. Help is available

Therapists who work with individuals who struggle with compulsive shopping may implement a variety of different therapeutic techniques. I use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to examine any triggers and vulnerabilities that may make a person more likely to engage in compulsive shopping behavior. Additionally, I work with the individual to identify what it is that they are trying to fulfill in themselves by shopping.

There are also support groups and self-help groups available for people who struggle with compulsive shopping. There are 12-step groups called Debtors Anonymous as well as various self-help and support groups available. Shopping addiction is something that can be overcome.

 

Sources:

http://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/compulsive-shopping

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/27/amazon-prime-spending_n_6556374.html

Emily Teegarden