Compulsive Shopping – Is It Really That Serious?

What is shopping addiction? Shopping addiction is a condition that is defined by compulsive shopping or over-shopping. This is in many ways similar to other addictive behaviors and has similar characteristics to cigarette smoking, alcoholism, gambling addiction and other types of addictions.

Shopping addiction is not a mental health disorder or a psychological disorder. However, many medical experts say that it could be. Are you one of those that display compulsive shopping behaviour? Do you have a tendency to shop till you drop? Do you run your credit card to the limit every time you go out on a weekend?

Compulsive shoppers feel that shopping makes them happy. Shopping is their way of getting over the issues that have been bothering them deeply.

According to a 2006 study by the Stanford University, over-shopping or compulsive shopping is a legitimate disorder and a fairly common one too. It affects about 6 percent of the US population, and surprisingly, is found in both men and women equally.

There are other studies that indicate that more women than women are affected by this tendency to over-shop. Women often buy things such as clothing, footwear, kitchen items, home decor and fashion accessories that they do not really need.

Indeed, women with this compulsive shopping disorder have many racks of clothes and hundreds of possessions that still have the price tags attached to them as they were yet to be used. Women often go to the small with intending to purchase one or two items and return home with half-a-dozen bags of purchases.

Why do people develop this disorder? It’s hard to say, but people shop for a number of reasons. But addicts are different as they shop compulsively and have a highly dysfunctional lifestyle where shopping is at the centre-stage of everything they do. They shop to relieve some of the anxiety they feel, and do so obsessively.

Compulsive shopping can be excessive; it is inappropriate at best, and out of control at worst. As with any addiction, it reflects the addict’s complete lack of control over their impulses.

Shopoholics, as compulsive shoppers are referred to as, just go out and buy to get a high. They get a rush out of shopping, much like alcohol addicts or drug addicts. It is difficult to explain what drives them on and on to shop even when it is obvious that they can ill afford to spend so much.

It is as though they get this emotional black out when they are shopping and hardly even remember the things they have bought. When their family and friends start complaining about the purchases, shopaholics have this tendency to lie and obfuscate ad hide things from them. They are always in denial about their problem and find it hard to come to terms with the issue on hand, or the proverbial “elephant in the room”.

An over-shopping disorder can be financially disastrous. Obsessive shoppers struggle to pay off their credit card bills and are always looking for new loans to fund their purchases.

This can lead to serious financial and legal problems, as well as relationship problems. Some find themselves working extra hard, working two or more jobs, and yet the thought of putting an end to their compulsive shopping does not really strike them until it is too late.

Certainly, a shopping addiction may sound funny to many, but it is no laughing matter. Millions of lives around the world have been ruined because of this. If you have a compulsive shopping disorder, book an appointment with a mental health specialist immediately.