Overspending isn’t something exclusive to those who suffer from addiction. We all have spent too much money on things we didn’t need. It is too easy to buy food and never eat it or times you never use. When does it turn into something more though? When does it turn into an actual problematic addiction?
Attitudes and Shopping Addiction
When it comes to shopping addiction, people roll their eyes and act like it’s not a real thing, as if it were just overzealous women shopping too much. That isn’t the case. Too many people don’t believe that compulsive shopping is a real problem that has to be fought. It isn’t even recognized as a legitimate addiction in the DSM, sadly.
Often it is referred to as “retail therapy”. It’s true that purchasing things or shopping can cause good feelings and help with stress or negative emotions. We all feel good when we buy something new or get a good deal on an expensive item.
Problems associated with women have always had a negative connotation throughout history. Men use it in association with women acting like it is a women-only problem and not allowing that it can be similar to substance dependence.
Signs And Symptoms Of A Shopping Addiction
There are quite a few common signs and symptoms that your love for shopping might be something more. These signs include:
– Unable to keep from shopping when buying items beyond a need or that don’t serve a purpose
– Not able to control the shopping despite reasonable efforts to stop
– Shopping has caused real problems in their life, including the ability to work, pay bills and living costs, maintain relationships, etc.
– Constant feelings of guilt or remorse about purchases
– Feeling out of control while shopping
– Relationship conflicts around excessive spending even if it’s causing money loss
– Using shopping as a method of modifying self-image and coping with negative emotions
– A “craving” to shop as a means for reward or pleasure consistently
– An emotional response that often presents as anxiety, sadness, or even anger if a person is not able to engage in shopping
– Tension or anxiety before making a purchase, and a sense of relief after the purchase
Too easily shopping can turn into a dependence that they rely on instead of other more healthy coping mechanisms.
There are a few stages into developing a shopping addiction so let’s look into them.
Stage 1: Anticipation
Having obsessed thoughts that they tend to fixate on regularly.
Stage 2: Preparation
Planning for how to make the purchase.
Stage 3: Shopping
Shopping is the most pleasurable part of the experience and can be very exciting.
Stage 4: Spending
Once they have spent money, they feel a bit of relief like problems have been resolved and things are going to be okay.
If these stages or symptoms fit you, then it might be important to get evaluated for a shopping addiction.