Shopoholics or Addicted to Shopping?
Many of us laugh at the concept however, for some of us, it is a real problem. It may start off with shopping out of necessity which results in a high. So, you go back and get an even higher feeling. At some point the high that you receive isn’t big enough so you have to go up a notch to the next level. Sounds like many other addictions. The reality comes when the bills start piling up, the collectors start calling , and you run out of space. What do you do?
“Compulsive shopping and spending are defined as inappropriate, excessive, and out of control,” says Donald Black, MD, professor of psychiatry at the University of Iowa College of Medicine. “Like other addictions, it basically has to do with impulsiveness and lack of control over one’s impulses. In America, shopping is embedded in our culture; so often, the impulsiveness comes out as excessive shopping.”
Whatever you may call it, shopping addiction can wreak havoc on a person’s life, family, and finances. Experts explain to WebMD why shopping can be so addictive, what the warning signs are, and how to stop the cycle of spending.
Many of these shoppers are oblivious to how much they are spending while they are feeling their high. A study by the American Journal of Psychiatry found one out of 12 people (nearly as many men as women) are compulsive shoppers.
“No one knows what causes addictive behaviors, like shopping, alcoholism, drug abuse, and gambling,” says Ruth Engs, EdD, a professor of applied health science at Indiana University. “Some of the new evidence suggests that some people, maybe 10%-15%, may have a genetic predisposition to an addictive behavior, coupled with an environment in which the particular behavior is triggered, but no one really knows why.”
The high that shoppers get is like any other high. Endorphins and dopamine, naturally occurring opiate receptor sites in the brain turn on.The shopper starts to feel good and the behavior is repeated.f
Juggling credit cards may land you in deeper trouble. You may not even realize how much credit card debt you’ve accumulated. You can also lose track of payments and bills and fees for using your cards.
1. Know what you have
Take an inventory of your closet, refrigerator or anything else you like to add to when you shop
2. Carry a shopping list
This can help curb impulse buying
3. Put items that you want to buy “on hold”
Sometimes taking a bit of time to think about it can help curb purchasing or weed out the unnecessary ones.
4. Don’t be a sucker for sales
Often they are not that great anyway.
5. Use CASH
No surprises, just upfront reality.
6. Track what you spend
Yep, this means write it all down. The truth can hurt but, can also be a wake-up call.
7. Cut up your credit cards
Wow, can this one be hard to do. We have so many reasons to hold on to them.
8. Seek advice
Often a financial counselor or therapist can help.
9. Learn how to say “No”
If you cannot do this then think about staying home and getting some cleaning done instead of shopping.
Spending over budget. Are you spending within your means or are you spending with the intent to pay it off later?
Compulsive buying. Do you know why you’re buying that thing you are not even sure that you need?
Buyers Regret Do you return a lot of these compulsive purchases?
It’s a chronic problem. It goes way beyond the Holiday Shopping season
Do you hide your problem from your family or others?
Do you lie about your shopping or how much you have spent?