To some extent shopping addiction is not taken all that seriously in the U.S. Retail stores and outlets often use seemingly harmless terms like “shopaholic” and “shopping spree” to encourage consumers—especially women and girls—to buy more. Because shopping and consumerism are so deeply ingrained in our culture, terms like this have come to be accepted.
The reality is that shopping addiction is real and produces similar effects to that of chemical addiction. Individuals can get a “high” from shopping caused by the release of endorphins and dopamine in the brain. This leads some individuals to shop to their own detriment.
There are some clear signs of shopping addiction, which include:
Compulsive buying- Intending on buying one or two blouses and ending up with 10 is a sign of a problem. Additionally, buying household or other items that aren’t needed and aren’t in your budget “just in case” can be the sign of a problem.
Exceeding budget- Typically people will refrain from buying something if it’s not within their budget, but people with a shopping addiction frequently forego this rule, not recognizing the boundaries of their budget.
Hiding purchases- Individuals with a shopping addiction will often hide purchases from their spouse to avoid being criticized. Hiding credit cards and debt are also troublesome signs—often debt is revealed during a divorce.
Troubled Relationships- A couple may fight over spending, as it often interferes with paying bills and buying other necessities, or they may fight because the addict spends too much time away from home to shop.
Feeling guilty or ashamed over spending, thinking obsessively about money, avoiding using cash in place of credit cards, shopping to relieve feelings of anger, loneliness, or anxiousness, and feeling a “rush” or high from shopping are all signs of a serious problem.
Like substance abuse, a shopping addiction can seriously damage an individual’s personal relationships and finances, and threaten their job. Northbound Treatment Services has a comprehensive rehab treatment program that treats all aspects of the individual—body, mind, and spirit, and can help individuals with shopping addiction. For more information about our services, click here.