Shopaholic: Addiction and Shopping

A shopaholic is a person considered to be addicted to shopping. a person who can’t stop spending money at the mall. A shopaholic is a person that loves shopping, and might even be addicted to it. Some warning signs of shopping addiction include:

spending a significant amount of time shopping and spending;

having an excuse for each shopping excursion and every purchase item;
feeling on top of the world after a purchase only to sink into guilt and shame when the high wears off;
being unable to stop shopping even though it is hurting loved ones;
not being able to limit purchases to specific items but having the compulsion to buy more;
owning a closet-full of never-worn items with the price tags still intact;
shopping whenever you need a pick-me-up or when you’re down, angry, or afraid;
keeping purchases and shopping a secret from your parents or your spouse;
spending more and more time thinking about shopping and acting on it;
going into debt because of shopping and not being able to stop;
having shopkeepers ask that you no longer shop at their stores.

Why do you keep doing what you don’t want to do? The exact cause of an addiction is not clear, but the contributions of years of studies have helped researchers identify its link to other addictive behaviours, such as alcohol, drugs, sex, and smoking.
And shopaholism (also known as oniomania or compulsive buying) is considered an addiction by some because it has many similarities to these other well-established addictions, where many of the same parts of the brain are activated and a similar experience of euphoria is felt. Just as alcohol is the abused substance in alcoholism, money is the abused substance in a shopping addiction. Research tells us that people who suffer from addiction get a rush of dopamine (a chemical in the brain that is associated with pleasure and reward) when they are able to satisfy a craving such as going on a shopping binge. With time, they become dependent on the “rush. But inevitably after the immediate gratification of a great purchase comes the pangs of guilt, shame, and disappointment.
This becomes an ongoing cycle that makes you feel powerless and out of control. But shopaholism is more than the loss of willpower or self control – it is also a behavioural problem that can be traced back to your upbringing. Studies show that shopaholics may have learned such behaviours at home or may have experienced abuse in their early years, such as sexual abuse. And more often than not, a shopping addiction has a greater likelihood of being accompanied by at least one other addiction (e. g. , substance use) or disorder (i. e. anxiety, obsessive-compulsive, impulse, mood (e. g. , depression)).
An addiction to shopping can also be traced to the impact of your environment. Studies found that this phenomenon is rarely seen in poverty-stricken countries except among the affluent. But in developed countries, a market-based economy, the availability of lots of consumer goods, disposable income, and leisure time seem to play a role as to who is affected with a shopping addiction. North Americans are overexposed to marketing and advertising gimmicks that encourage and promote a shopping and materialistic lifestyle, and shopping has become a major pastime and way of life.
It is reported that people start developing an unhealthy habit of excessive shopping in their late teens and early 20s, when they move away from home and experience freedom and get their own credit cards, generating large debts at a young age. And with the widespread use of the internet, people of all ages – especially the internet-savvy generation – are getting online to satisfy their shopping fix. Personal blogs are not just an online journal but personal e-boutiques. Teenagers buy and sell their stash through Facebook, often meeting their prospective buyers at specified subway stops after school or on weekends. The internet has also made it easier to shop.
While these do not necessarily lead to or cause a shopping addiction, they do make it harder for someone with a penchant for shopping to kick the habit or to rein in their spending. Changing your shopping habits Admitting that you have a shopping addiction is the first step towards healing, which is why Confessions of a Shopaholic is such an apt title for the movie. And Rebecca, the central character in Sophie Kinsella’s runaway bestseller, doesn’t admit she has a shopping problem until everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. But once she confesses her addiction, it is a freeing experience that allows her to be open and honest with herself and loved ones around her. Oftentimes, the secrets you have to carry are actually a heavier burden than the problem itself.
While there may be a lot of temptation around you that feeds your need to shop excessively, you ultimately have to take action and take control of your spending habits. Just like going to the gym, changing to a healthier diet, or anything that takes discipline or getting used to, the reward after the hard work will be worth it. And shopping shouldn’t have to be banned completely or forever!
It is called “retail therapy” for a reason – a way to relax, to enjoy the fruits of your hard-earned dollar, to express your creative outlet, and all that shopping jazz. The road to rediscovering the joy of healthy shopping requires that you have a plan in motion that can help you get back control, and it may require learning some new shopping habits to replace bad shopping habits of the past.
Each time you replace an old habit with a new and healthier routine, it will only help you get stronger to face down the next shopping urge. Here are some tips on how to curb a shopping temptation:

Window shop only after hours so that you are not tempted to walk into the store.
Use the internet only for work purposes or to complete errands – do not surf online.
Go shopping with a friend, who can help keep tabs on how much you are buying – avoid shopping alone.
Get rid of your credit cards or leave them at home when you go shopping to avoid the temptation to spend.
Find other routine activities to replace the times you used to spend shopping.

Enlist a buddy or two who are willing to be on call whenever you feel the urge to shop. Getting help and treatment for your shopping addiction A review article published in World Psychiatry in 2007 estimated that approximately 6% of Americans are faced with a compulsive shopping problem at some point in their lives.
Other studies report a higher percentage, depending on the method of study. Just like any other addiction, people with a shopping addiction go to great lengths to hide their shopping activities and purchases. Many people often do not face their shopping problems until they run up a substantial credit card debt and reach a “dead end,” finding themselves liable to serious financial consequences.
This can lead to other damaging personal setbacks, such as losing the trust of loved ones when they find out or even losing a job or a home. The first step to getting help is to acknowledge that you have a shopping problem. Once you’ve taken this giant step, you will have the motivation to look for help. While there is no standardized method for treating shopping addiction, the two main forms of therapy are medication and cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT). Various clinical studies have taken place to evaluate the effectiveness of medication therapy normally used to treat anxiety and depression. The results of medication as treatment for shopping addiction, however, are mixed.
A common method of treatment is cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT is a general term that describes the process of identifying and correcting problems associated with the way you think, behave, and feel, all of which may be contributing to your addictive or compulsive behaviours. The focus of CBT is on issues that stem from within you rather than external influences. Taking quality time with professional help, self-help, loved ones, or those in similar situations to sort out your feelings, emotions, and history can get you started on the road to healing.
Therapy programs may be guided by an appropriate professional (such as a psychologist, therapist, or counsellor), self-help efforts (i. e. self-help books, keeping a shopping diary), or volunteer or charity programs that offer support and provide realistic steps on how to curb the compulsion to shop (i. e. , Debtors Anonymous, Credit Canada).
Effective CBT would ideally include a tailored combination of all these programs that best fit your needs. It will also include addressing areas of your life that have been affected by a shopping addiction, such as considering marriage counselling and financial counselling.http://bodyandhealth.canada.com/channel_health_features_details.asp health_feature_id=394&article_id=1248&channel_id=1004&relation_id=59344 Compulsive Shopping Addiction What Compulsive Shopping and Spending Means?
The phrase ‘shop till you drop’ aptly describes people who are shopaholic. They purchase anything out of whim and will do this to such an extent that they run their credit cards up to the limit. Almost all shopaholics feel that shopping will make them feel better, but in reality they end up feeling more frustrated because of the tension of surmounting bills. Compulsive shopping addiction is quite similar to other addictive behaviors like drinking, gambling, overeating, etc and is known to affect more women than men. The tendency to shop to one’s heart content increases in the shopaholic people under certain conditions like holiday /festive seasons, when they are depressed or feeling lonely or simply irked up.
Excessive overspending by a person frequently is actually a lapse in personality and they need to understand that shopping or spending will not guarantee more love, boost self-respect, nurse old hurts and regrets, solve everyday problems, etc. A compulsive shopper usually is seen to have strained relations with family and friends because of their behavior. How to Recognize a Compulsive Shopper?

Whenever the shopaholics feel low, they are goaded to buy the knick-knack ‘pick-me-up’ kind of articles. They just go out and purchase stuff to experience a high or a rush, just like alcohol or drug addicts.
Shopaholics will normally buy things that they do not really require. Festive seasons tend to encourage the shopping habits because of the various fetching offers like discounts and bonanzas.
While few shopping addicts go on binging the year round and may be obsessive about getting specific articles like shoes, kitchen items or clothing, others will purchase just anything.
Women who are compulsive shoppers often have stacks of unused clothes and other items with the price tags still attached. Normally they will go shopping to get a couple of items, but return home with bags and bags of purchases.
Shopaholics have also been known to suffer from psychological ‘black out’ and do not remember even purchasing the stuff. And when friends and family begin to question them, they will hide the stuff they have purchased.

Treatment for Shopaholic People / Compulsive Buyers If you yourself or someone around shows such traits as mentioned above, then the person is a compulsive buyer in all probability. Though a chronic problem, it is possible to treat shopaholic people provided they themselves are willing to cooperate. It is normally advised that compulsive buyers take help of professional counseling or a self-help group to get rid of their psychological problem. Compulsive Buyers / Shopaholics – How do you Shun Shopping Binges?

Always try to pay your shopping bills by cash, check, debit card.
Shop as per ingeniously prepared scripted shopping list, which will include only the must-have items. Destroy or keep away all credit cards, except one to be used during emergency.
Stay away from discount stores. Even if your do visit, keep aside only a fixed amount of cash for spending.
Window shop after the stores has shut down or you will be tempted to buy.
Avoid phoning in catalog orders and viewing TV shopping channels.
Go for a stroll or exercise whenever you feel the urge to shop.
If nothing seems to work, then seek professional help.
Keep accurate records of your spending as it will help you understand your splurging habits better. You will then know where not to spend.
You can also do well by inculcating an interest for a new hobby like painting, trekking, etc.

The Shopaholic’s Guide to Getting your Expenses under Control Ever noticed that there seems to be a whole lot of things to buy these days? Shops are bursting at the seams with goods and objects of all sizes, shapes and prices. There seems to be a plethora of options that tempt you to splurge and empty your pockets — sale, discount, bargain price, buy one get one free, offer ends soon — they’re all different tactics used to get you to loosen your purse strings. There’s just one thing that’s short in stock. The thing you need to buy all the goodies on display — MONEY. It sure doesn’t grow on trees, folks, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping too many people.
They don’t have the money but they want the stuff and credit cards are helping them out. Or so they think! Compulsive shopping with funds that do not exist is the worst debt trap you can fall into. You wake up one day to a house full of stuff and a credit balance deep in the red. It’s time to make a few resolutions if you want to get back on the road to a healthy financial life, and we’re showing you how. Temptation is the devil in disguise? The first and most important step to getting your expenses under control is to exert a little self control. This is the hardest part of the process, but if you master your urges, there’s no way you’ll slip back into your old ways.
If you feel temptation beckoning, eliminate the things that will allow you to shop, starting with these: Credit cards: Chop them up, freeze them, lock them up and throw away the key — they’re the reason you shop irresponsibly in the first place. Without your credit cards, even if you walk into a store and are tempted to buy something, you’re limited by the amount of cash you have on you. Internet connection:
It’s easy to get carried away when you’re shopping online. If you need to stay connected, use your willpower and stay away from online shopping sites. Cable television: Those great deals and must-have gadgets are not for you. Stay away from the channels that try to sell you anything under the sun.
Malls and department stores: Stay away when they advertise sales and bargains. You may go in with the best of intentions, wanting to buy only what you need, but the urge to buy will creep up and overpower you when you see those signs beckoning.
Debit cards: Easy access to cold cash leads to the temptation to spend. That money in the bank may be a nest egg that your family members or you have saved for a rainy day. Cash in hand: It’s not practical to be stuck without emergency money, but a shopaholic is better off with an empty wallet/purse. It prevents them from buying, period. Surround yourself with support? Compulsive shopping is an addiction that can be as bad as alcohol, drugs or tobacco.
It helps if you have friends and family who are there to lend you support as you try to kick the habit. Never shop alone: Unlike other addictions, shopping is not something that you can quit cold turkey. You have to step into a mall or store at sometime or another, if only to buy necessities.
Take someone along when you do, preferably someone who knows you’re trying to get rid of the tag “shopaholic” and who can exert some sort of control over you. Seek professional help: If your problem is deep and you’re unable to do things on your own, it’s not a sin to get a professional to help you out. Comforting alternatives help? You shop till you drop, but your emotions run high — that’s the life of a shopaholic.
The continuous shopping makes you feel good, like you’re running on energy boosters. But only until the bills start pouring in. That’s when the guilt starts to kick in — for a while at least. Then the next big sale comes around, and you have to be a part of it.
To help cure yourself, find alternative sources of comfort, like: Time with people you love: Spend time with your family, children, friends — anyone who makes you feel happy when you’re with them. Seek them out especially when you feel the urge to hit the stores. A new hobby: Get a life besides shopping. Discover new things about yourself. Find a hobby and fill your spare time (or time you would have spent shopping) doing something useful and fulfilling.
Making more money: Turn the tables on your addiction and get a twofold advantage out of the situation by taking an additional job that will help you forget the urge to shop. It’s two birds with one stone — you don’t spend any money while you are working, you make it instead.
Shopaholics usually face an uphill climb when they’re trying to kick the habit. Not only do they have to devote all of their energy to avoiding the shopping sprees, they’re stuck with a mountain of bills as a result of their reckless spending days. Setting up a budget for necessities and negotiating with creditors for lenient deals will ease some of that burden as they try to begin a new life.

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