From hitting the mall with your friends on weekends to spending your holiday on gifts that go under the tree, I think you can call shopping someone’s full-time job even. Most people like to shop, and they also need to, but for some, it turns out to be an obsession that “shops till they drop”. If the buying impulse is occasional, then it’s quite normal. After all, the majority of people enjoy shopping. The actual problem arises when you or someone you know has succumbed to obsessive shopping.

Most of the 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. In the beginning, it’s hard to identify that you are trapped but then there comes a point where you realize that it is something disturbing your life.

Overspending and compulsive buying can be defined as inappropriate, excessive and out of control phenomenon as we have seen in other addictions. Impulsiveness is the key feature, basically, lack of control over one’s impulses lead towards 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. Sometimes we use shopping as a defense mechanism against our negative feelings and emotions, in order to manage our feelings, repair our mood, or pursue a ‘perfect’ image; the more likely it is that we need to take a closer look at what this behavior is costing you. We can get temporarily escape from our 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. It means that endorphins and dopamine’s, naturally occurring opiate receptor sites in the brain get switched on and the person starts feeling elated. Once they feel good, their behavior automatically gets reinforce and they fall prey to the trap of addiction. When this is happening, we can notice a negative change in spending habits. For instance, shopaholics are more likely tempted to dash off to the mall to buy items they don’t really need or want. They will feel buying new things every day, no matter they need them or not, this is something in their head, which constantly keep their focusing on buying stuff.

Identifying our normal buying behavior is very important.  Some people’s leisure time is often spent on shopping if we spend a lot of time in shopping does not necessarily indicate a shopping addiction. Shopping craze can be seen in people who have recently acquired a large inheritance or won a significant amount 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.