Are You Addicted to Shopping?

When you are stressed out, sad, or depressed, does hitting the mall or online shopping portals make you feel better instantly? This could be a sign of a deeper rooted problem that needs more than a purchase…

What it Means

According to Dr. Raymond Hamden, a clinical psychologist in The Human Relations Institute, compulsive shopping and spending are defined as inappropriate, excessive, and out of control. One distinguishing characteristic of a compulsive or addicted shopper is the preoccupation with shopping, which distracts them and affects their social and professional life. A shopping addiction is very different from a love of shopping. People with an addiction continue to shop despite serious negative consequences. Many compulsive buyers face consequences like serious credit card debt, inability to pay bills, failed relationships, financial legal troubles, and criminal legal troubles.

Red Flags

Some signs to look for that indicate shopping addiction, points out Dr. Hamden; include spending over budget, compulsive buying, hiding the problem, impaired relationships, and clear consequences. Another sign is a preoccupation with shopping, concealing facts, items and whereabouts, anxiety when shopping plans are cancelled, and of course the inappropriate emotional and relational effects that follow.

Treating a Shopping Addiction

  • Avoid shopping alone; instead take along a trusted friend or family member who can stop you from making impulsive purchases.
  • Avoid online shopping and browsing shopping sites.
  • Do not carry your credit cards with you and instead, opt to pay for all items in cash only.
  • Keep a purchase journal where you write down every single item you buy. Use this to help you replace destructive habits with more positive ones.
  • Always leave your home with a shopping list and be sure to stick with it.