Shopping addiction is very real. The amount of people who find they experience anxiety whenever they are in or around a store is quite frightening. People simply feel like they need something new, anything at all. Often, this is to mask an underlying problem, depression or other issue. They hope that purchasing something will make those feelings go away. However, more often than not, this type of addiction actually leads to far greater problems. This is why it is important to seek shopping addiction treatment if you fear you have the addiction.
Are You a Shopping Addict?
There are a few things that point to you having a shopping addiction. These include:
• Buying things even if you can’t afford it.
• Difficulties saving money.
• Thinking of things to buy.
• Rewarding yourself by going shopping.
• Spending at least one third of your income on credit card bills.
• Moving credit cards due to problems meeting repayments.
• Only paying the minimum payment on a credit card.
• Keeping items you have no need for anymore.
• Feeling deprived and upset when you have to say no to buying something.
Shopping Addiction Treatment
Treatment for shopping addiction needs to address the underlying problems that actually push the behavior. It is about regaining control over all aspects of your life. The problem is, however, that our entire environment is enabling and validating of a shopping compulsion. No matter where you look, there is an opportunity to shop and spend money. Hence, this is this first and biggest hurdle to overcome.
A second problem is that most compulsive shoppers feel very ashamed of their behavior. By the time they seek shopping addiction treatment, the consequences of their actions are very noticeable. They are often in huge debt, have lost relationships and find themselves struggling to make end meets. Often, they still try to put a front on, pretending that things are simply “not that bad”. This is a second issue to deal with.
The last major issue is that a shopping addiction is generally symptomatic of a much bigger problem. Sufferers often go through depression, which can be either a cause or a result of the addiction, generally have some form of anxiety disorder and often engage in this behavior to mask the feelings relating to a past traumatic event. Often, this is some form of abuse.
The most effective way to treat shopping addiction is through a form of cognitive behavior therapy. This teaches patients to deliver different natural responses to situations they feel anxious about. However, further treatment is often also necessary to deal with the underlying condition, which can be done through other forms of psychotherapy or even medication. Dealing with the fact that we live in a society that is so enabling of a shopping addict is often very hard to deal with. More often than not, it literally means having to cut credit cards up. It also requires great support from friends and families, who will have to make sure that the patient does not simply order a new credit card or apply for loans.