People who “shop ’till they drop” and run their credit cards up to the limit often have a shopping addiction. They believe that if they shop they will feel better. Compulsive shopping and spending generally makes a person feel worse. It is similar to other addictive behaviors and has some of the same characteristics as as problem drinking (alcoholism), gambling and overeating addictions.
Compulsive shopping or spending can be a seasonal balm for the depression, anxiety and loneliness during the December holiday season. It also can occur when a person feels depressed, lonely and angry. Shopping and spending will not assure more love, bolster self-esteem, or heal the hurts, regrets, stress, and the problems of daily living. It generally makes these feelings worse because of the increased financial debt the person has obtained from compulsive shopping.
*How can you tell if you are a compulsive shopper?
Shopoholics, when they are feeling “out of sorts, shop for a ” pick-me-up.” They go out and buy, to get a high, or get a “rush” just like a drug or alcohol addict. Shopping addiction tends to affect more women than men. They often buy things they do not need. Holiday seasons can trigger shopping binges among those who are not compulsive the rest of the year. Many shopping addicts go on binges all year long and may be compulsive about buying certain items, such as shoes, kitchen items or clothing; some will buy anything.
*How do I prevent shopping binges?
Pay for purchases by cash, check, debit card.
Make a shopping list and only buy what is on the list.
Destroy all credit cards except one to be used for emergency only.
Avoid discount warehouses. Allocate only a certain amount of cash to be spent if you do visit one.
“Window shop” only after stores have closed. If you do “look” during the day, leave your wallet at home.
Avoid phoning in catalog orders and don’t watch TV shopping channels.
If you’re traveling to visit friends or relatives, have your gifts wrapped and call the project finished; people tend to make more extraneous purchases when they shop outside their own communities.
Take a walk or exercise when the urge to shop comes on.
If you feel out of control, you probably are. Seek counseling or a support group such as Debtors Anonymous.
*How to Recognize a Compulsive Shopper?
Whenever the shopaholics feel low, they are goaded to buy the knock-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.