During the pandemic you probably went months without getting your shopping fix. A trip to the mall once in a while can be a release. But when you have to shop all the time it could be a sign of an addiction. Researchers estimate that up to six percent of Americans are shopaholics. And as the advertisement game gets stronger this number is most likely to grow. The term shopaholic is used to describe people with an addiction to buying things. While it’s often seen as socially acceptable, this obsession can create serious problems in a person’s life.
Compulsive buying disorder is characterized as a problem with urge control. It’s similar to gambling or intoxication and can lead to emotional stress and financial loss. It’s important to remember that shopping addiction can form for a number of reasons.
You have unopened items
Compulsive buying behavior or cbb is a mental health condition characterized by excessive impulsive purchases of products in spite of psychological social and financial consequences. If you have several sealed or unlabeled items sitting in your closet you might be a shopaholic. We’re not talking about the dress your grandma gave you last christmas. It’s about the things you get on your own that stay unopened with their tags still attached. You may even forget about a number of these possessions like boxes of shoes under your bed or jackets that haven’t seen the light of day.
According to a study the most common items purchased by compulsive shoppers are clothing, shoes, music, jewelry, cosmetics and household items.
You have low self-esteem
Low self-esteem is one of the most common characteristics found in shopaholics. Buying is one way to increase your self-worth especially when the items are associated with a certain image. Excessive shopping can be used to cope with anger, boredom, fear or other emotions. The good news is that with the help of a therapist you’ll find there are many things to make you truly love yourself.
Studies also suggest that people have low self-esteem due to society’s views on materialism. Many people believe that buying whatever’s trendy will improve their social status this leads them to make more compulsive purchases. If they see a shirt they think people will be impressed with, they’ll buy it.
You have poor impulse control
Impulses are quite natural, a sudden and strong urge to do something can be overpowering. Most people say they find it fairly easy to control their impulses and they learn this as a child. On the other hand shopaholics find the impulses difficult to manage. The good news is you can control your spending impulses on your own. Especially if you’re dealing with other problems.
Shopping can sometimes be a way to gain a sense of self-control. Shopping often involves finding good deals and buying unwanted items that are on sale. Finding these kinds of deals can give you a sense of power and control over your environment. At the same time many shopaholics will go for items despite their price. You’re easily attracted to things you can do without.
You hide your shopping habits
Or constantly waiting for co-workers to pass by while shopping online. This could be a sign that you’re in trouble. Shopaholics will often satisfy their thirst by spending money at the expense of their job and family. In some cases shopaholics may try to hide their addiction by downplaying the details. For instance a person may admit they went shopping but will lie about how much they spent. Just remember going on a shopping spree once in a while doesn’t mean you’re a shopaholic.
Studies show that people with compulsive buying disorders are more addicted to material purchases than other shoppers. But their love of material things catches up to them. They often don’t even use the things they buy. Over time they’ll just end up with a pile of expensive items in their home.
One of the main aspects of materialism is envy. Shopaholics will often become envious of another person’s possessions. This will drive them to buy the same exact item or an item they feel is even better. All to raise their social status. Research shows that rather than getting yourself worth from accomplishments or unique traits. Shopaholics feel value based on what they own, it can be a car, a bag or a luxurious home.
You’re triggered by frustration
Compulsive purchases are usually an attempt to fill an emotional void of some sort. This void can be caused by loneliness, lack of control or insecurity. Shopaholics are also prone to mood swings, eating disorders and substance abuse. If you’re the kind of person who eats your feelings you may also be a shopaholic. Studies show that emotional instability or mood swings will impact your shopping patterns. Experts also found that shopping addicts often suffer from anxiety and depression. This can fuel their need to go out and buy stuff. Shopping is often used as a way to lift spirits even if it’s only for a while.
You get anxious when you’re not shopping
It’s one thing to get annoyed if you haven’t had your morning coffee. But if you’re feeling on edge simply because you haven’t swiped your debit card you may be a shopaholic. If a shopaholic hasn’t had the opportunity to go out their mood spirals. It’s very similar to a drug addict who hasn’t had their fix they become very difficult to be around.
You seek approval
Research shows that shopaholics are more likeable than non-shopaholics. This is due to all the effort they put into people caring but not much of this is personality based. They want you to like them based on the kind of possessions they own. Not just the shoes on their feet but also the electronics they use and even the home they live in. If there’s an item on the market that’s trending you better believe a shopaholic is going to buy it.
Final Thoughts on shopaholic
If the above symptoms sound similar to you, don’t worry, seeking out treatment makes a huge difference. Even your wallet will side with relief. Even small changes in lifestyle can help, whether it’s watching tv, jogging or listening to music. These activities can replace shopping, giving your pockets some time off. Identify your triggers, pay attention to what might be leading you to the department store. Whether it’s an argument with a partner or a rough business meeting.
As these feelings improve, you’ll notice your urge to shop will be much easier to avoid. If you’re still struggling with spending don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can start with self-help books or ask a friend or family member to help manage your condition.