Shopping can be seen as a popular pastime, especially among teenagers and young professionals. In fact, many people enjoy this activity as a form of relaxation. For instance, going to the shopping center with friends or loved ones can be considered a form of entertainment. However, many people do not realize that an addiction can develop to the activity of shopping, especially if the reasons for shopping are associated with stress relief. In these cases, individuals will develop tendencies to shop and spend more than they can afford; this can be considered a shopping addiction, which can require therapy, rehabilitation, and other forms of treatment.
On a daily basis, individuals can find themselves exposed to marketing and advertising for various products and services, whether it is through commercials, billboards, or magazines. These items are marketed so that individuals will believe they need these particular items or services to better their lives in some way. For example, busy shopping malls are often associated with a strong economy because it means that individuals have the money to spend. However, consumerism has escalated to the point that individuals can be easily manipulated to purchase items that they do not need. This is how a shopping addiction can form; some individuals are vulnerable to these gimmicks and begin to believe that shopping can help them in some way. At the same time, what is the difference between the average shopper and a shopping addict? A shopping addiction can be characterized in the same as many other types of addictions. For instance, a shopping addict will overindulge in the need to shop; thus, he or she will choose to spend money excessively as a way of coping with emotional dissatisfaction or stress, even though it is having a negative impact on his or her life. These types of addicts will typically lose control over their shopping habits and become obsessed with using shopping as a form of stress relief. In turn, this causes addicts to spend more money and continue shopping, which continues the vicious cycle that eventually becomes the root of the addiction. A shopping addiction can be compared to a drug addiction in the sense that the addict’s finances and relationships will likely be negatively affected and potentially destroyed because of the addiction.
What causes the shopping addiction? Some studies show that low self-esteem or childhood neglect can be the causes of shopping addictions. Individuals who have a low self-esteem tend to have more addictive qualities because they are constantly looking for some way to improve how they feel about themselves. In essence, they use shopping as a way of searching for some form of satisfaction. Moreover, individuals who have problems with anxiety, depression, and poor impulse control can become vulnerable to addictions and other forms of compulsive behavior. This is typically caused by the stress relief that they association with shopping. Furthermore, individuals who were neglected during their childhoods can choose to turn to shopping as a form of escapism. Sometimes, these tendencies to shop begin at a very young age because they will use shopping as a form of getting away from the neglect they feel at home. Specifically, shopping is used as a coping mechanism for loneliness, so they would choose to buy toys or other items that they did not need whenever they felt lonely. Once these individuals enter adulthood, the problem only worsens because they have the potential to make money on their own. Then, they will likely attempt to use the same method of treating their emotional pain.
The first step to coping with the addiction is to admit that the problem exists. As with other forms of addiction, behavioral therapies have proven to yield positive results when it comes to treating a shopping addiction. It is also advised that individuals who acknowledge that they have a compulsive shopping disorder remove any forms of credit from their grasp. In most cases, addicts are advised during treatment to give their credit cards and bank account information to loved ones who can support them through their recovery. All forms of rehabilitation will involve admitting the problem exists and taking the necessary steps to learn about the addiction. Thus, self-help books, support groups, and financial counseling are all considered effective methods of rehabilitating an individual with a shopping addiction.