A person who is afflicted with shopping addiction may not be aware that he or she already has a compulsive disorder. Some people hide store receipts and credit card bills from their loved ones after splurging in the mall. Meanwhile, others admit that they went shopping, but they keep the exact amount they spent a secret, or they lie to everyone about spending a huge amount of money.
Awareness of shopping addiction
Shopping addiction may be directed at a specific clothing item, brand of accessories or product line. However, some shopping addicts can’t help but spend money not just on clothes, shoes, and jewelry, but also in food and other types of material holdings such as real estate. The compulsion is present even when the person does not have the financial means to sustain the habit of purchasing goods on a regular basis.
People close to the shopping addict usually notice that the person with the habit typically goes shopping when they are feeling sad, depressed, or angry. After shopping, their mood improves immediately. Other people make the observation that a friend confides feeling guilty about spending more money than they planned on a shopping spree only to do the same thing again. Many shopaholics find themselves in damaged personal relationships because they lose control of their shopping behavior.
Compulsive shopping or shopping addiction is considered a mental health disorder. In the addict’s mind, shopping is directly associated with pleasure. In order to sustain this pleasurable feeling, the person repeats the experience and develops the urge to recreate it over and over again. Most of the symptoms of this type of addiction are emotional in nature, although some physical symptoms may manifest.
A person who is already deep in debt and experiencing a declining financial situation may or may not realize that there is a problem that needs to be resolved. Professionals offering a shopaholic recovery program can help people with compulsive shopping disorders to get their lives back on track and recover from their dire circumstance. The origins of emotional distress are ascertained, and with professional help, the sufferer is given opportunities to break the vicious cycle of spending and shopping.
According to mental health experts, people may develop addiction to shopping because they become attached to the sensation of pleasure associated with the activity. When an individual experiences positive emotions while shopping, the brain releases the neurotransmitter dopamine and endorphins, which produce pleasurable sensations. A shopaholic is someone who is consistently seeking out pleasurable feelings brought about by a specific activity by repeatedly engaging in said activity. A report stated that 10-15% of the population is predisposed to developing addictive behaviors.
In order to resolve addiction, a shopaholic must accept that the problem exists and voluntarily subject themselves to intervention. The treatment approach may become more complicated and multi-faceted if the shopaholic also suffers from eating disorder, mood disorder, or substance abuse. It usually takes a holistic approach to help a person break the cycle of dependency on shopping in order to relieve stress, discomfort, and feelings of distress by spending excessively and feeding the habit of shopping beyond their means.