From hitting the mall with your friends on weekends to holiday spending on gifts that go under the tree, shopping could be called someone’s full-time job even. Giving in to the occasional impulse buy is normal. After all, the majority of people enjoy shopping. The problem occurs when you or someone you know has succumbed to obsessive shopping.
Most people take shopping as buying new clothes for work or a small trinket for a friend. For others, however, shopping is much more than an enjoyable pastime, and in some cases, it is a real and destructive addiction that can turn into a financial disaster.
Overspending and compulsive buying can be defined as inappropriate, excessive, and control phenomena as we see in other addictions. Impulsiveness is the key feature, basically, lack of control over one’s impulses leads to damages. “shopaholism” shopping addiction can wreak havoc on a person’s life, family, relationships, physical and mental health, and finances. “Shopping, done to excess, can spin out of control and lead to bigger problems, spoiling rather than enhancing your quality of life. The more you use shopping as an attempt to fill an inner void, manage your feelings, repair your mood, or pursue a ‘perfect’ image, the more likely it is that you need to take a closer look at what this behavior is costing you. At times you start using shopping as a defense mechanism against your negative emotion or feeling. You can get temporarily escape from your problems but at the end of the day, they still exist. And what makes you more miserable is their existence.
Shopaholics get some kind of high when they buy something, which means that endorphins and dopamines, naturally occurring opiate receptor sites in the brain, get switched on and the person starts feeling elated. Once they feel good, their behavior will automatically reinforce and they will fall prey to the trap of addiction. When it happens to you, a negative change in your spending habits is quite noticeable. For instance, you are likely tempted to dash off to the mall to buy items you don’t really need. You will feel like buying new things every day, no matter you need them or not, this is something in your head, which constantly keeps you focusing on buying stuff.
Ruling out normal buying behavior is very important. Some people’s leisure time is often spent on shopping if they spend a lot of time shopping does not necessarily mean a shopping addiction. Shopping sprees are also common among people who have recently acquired a large inheritance or won a significant sum of money. As such, the apparent impulsive buying done by these people does not necessarily constitute an addiction to shopping. The situation will be alarming when you start seeing dysfunctionality in different areas of your life. There can be several reasons for getting into compulsive shopping, e.g emotional deprivation in childhood, Inability to tolerate negative feelings, pain, loneliness, boredom, depression, fear, anger, need to fill an inner emptiness and longing inside, pleasure-seeking, Approval seeking, low self-esteem perfectionism, genuinely impulsive and compulsive and need to gain control.