Heading off on a shopping trip once in awhile is good for both you and your wardrobe. Something new for your fall collection, right? While most people enjoy a trip to the mall or an hour or two of online shopping, to some, it becomes an addiction, and it’s not at all as glamorous as it may seem.
Here is how you can identify the warning signs if you suspect that you or a friend may be using shopping as an escape, and how you can find your way out of it. Realizing the problem is, of course, the first and biggest step one can take.
Why shopping addiction?
Just like with anything we enjoy, shopping releases a bit of dopamine. It’s the same feeling you get from eating chocolate, having sex, or even after going for a run; it’s good for you and should be rewarded, so your brain treats you to this feel-good drug. And we’ll welcome it every time; dopamine is great stuff when it’s under control.
It’s not, however, always under control and some people turn to it again and again, constantly repeating the habit that causes this release. Our tolerance increases with time, though, as it is with every drug, and the poor someone will up their habits to squeeze out the same feeling they used to get from it.
The circle is complete, in other words, and it will only get worse from here – unless you identify it, that is.
What are the signs?
Some who are addicted may talk about a feeling of giddiness when shopping, almost dizzy at the thought of it, and usually quite low by the time they return home with their purchases. It’s typical to turn to shopping when they’re under emotional distress in order to cope with the negative emotions, leading them to an even deeper low when the rush is over.
Try to think about whether you or someone you know tend to spend much more money on shopping than they can afford. Is the shopping used as a reaction when they feel sad or stressed?
The only outward signs of this addiction are usually when someone seems guilty about their spending and ends up in financial difficulties; have a look at consolidation.creditcard, first of all, and talk to a professional to identify the root of the addiction. It’s not always easy to admit it to yourself – or especially to someone else, and cleaning up your finances can be a constructive and healthy way to start the rehabilitation.
Shopaholicsanonymous.org has a handy set of questions you can ask yourself or your friend to pinpoint whether there’s a problem with shopping or not. Have a look at the link and think about your mood right before you decide to go on a spree. Next, take a moment to think about your past; has overspending caused problems for you before?
If you experience some sort of high while spending money, you may be overspending in order to boost this feeling again and again.
It takes an amount or reflection and insight to your own behavior in order to find your way out of this alone, so talk about it with your loved ones and make sure to benefit from professional advice as well.