Shopping Addiction

Do You Have a Shopping Addiction? Girlfriends may joke about it, but shopping addiction (or “compulsive buying disorder”) is a very real thing. Just like being addicted to caffeine, nicotine, gambling, or exercise, shopping is another way that some people find satisfaction and stress-relief. But when shopping-sprees and “retail therapy” turn into financial problems for you or your family, the after effects reach far and deep.

Type of Issue:
Addiction Therapy
Can't Stop Buying?

Warning Signs of Compulsive Buying Disorder

How do you know if you have a shopping addiction? Here are some common red flags to be on the lookout for:

  • Going shopping when you’re upset about something, as a way to self-sooth.
  • Experiencing financial problems because of your excessive spending.
  • Arguing with your loved ones, friends, or family members about your spending habits.
  • Relying on credit cards to pay for things, instead of budgeting out the cash on hand; feeling panicked if you don’t have your credit cards on you.
  • Opening new credit cards because the other ones are maxed out.
  • Lying about your shopping trip or the prices of items you bought.
  • Getting a rush, anxiety, or guilt during and after your shopping trip.
  • Buying particular items that you may not need, or already have.
  • Feeling remorseful, but not doing anything about your behavior.

What’s the Cause of a Spending Disorder?

Most of the time, people turn to shopping to help them cope with problems that are already going on, like strained friendships, job difficulties, etc. Rather than seek out a healthier way to find peace or soothe their anxiety, the first thing you might instinctually do is pick up your wallet and head to the store. You don’t realize there’s a problem, until the habit starts to lead to problems with your bank account or budget.

It could be that you have undiagnosed anxiety, depression, or another behavioral condition that’s causing you to reach out for help. Instead of being aware of it and turning to a professional, you’ve learned to cope through the “rush” you get from a trip to the store.

Fortunately, knowledge is the first step to overcoming your urges.

The Impact on Your Family and Social Life

Did you know that one of the biggest causes of divorce is due to finances? A shopping addiction is just one example of something that can come between you and the people that you love. It’s not just women who turn to retail therapy…men are just as much at risk.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be able to buy new things for others or yourself. It only becomes a problem when you repeatedly feel the need to spend money that should go to other things, or extend lines of credit in which you have no way to pay back. It’s not just yourself that’s impacted, it’s your spouse, your children, and your line of credit.

“Do I Have to Give Up Shopping?”

Going cold turkey and cutting up all of your credit cards isn’t a cure-all for treating impulsive shopping behaviors. Carefully planned out shopping is fine, as long as you’ve budgeted for it accordingly. You may just need to wait a while to make extra purchases (or find more affordable alternatives) until you’ve controlled your spending habits and started working on the debt.

Retail Therapy: Get Shopping Addiction Help

The best way to treat your shopping addiction is to determine the causes behind it. The Dell Center for Therapy, located in Utah and Florida,  offers confidential counseling services to individuals with addictions, including shopping. As we help you uncover triggers or feelings that lead to you wanting to spend money, you can be better equipped to manage or avoid them altogether.

As a result of addiction counseling, you can help to regain control over the important things in life: like your relationships and your bank account. The simple investment in understanding yourself better could potentially save yourself thousands of dollars, friendships, and even your home.

The Dell Center for Therapy in Summit County, Salt Lake City, and Palm Beach County offers in-person or teleconference or videoconference counseling to our clients with shopping addiction. Contact us today for a consultation.

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