Shopaholism – how to recognize shopping addiction and how to fight it?

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Probably while searching for this article, you will come across many advertisements and infographics. We are surrounded everywhere by products that look very inviting. This in turn fuels consumerism, which is very difficult to resist. The current times are focused on sales and consumption. So it is no wonder that many people today suffer from shopaholism. How to recognize this addiction and how to fight it?

How do you recognize shopaholism?

Shopaholism is the same addiction as drug or alcohol addiction. Although it doesn’t destroy our health as much as other addictions, it can ruin our wallet, life stability or relationships with loved ones. How to recognize this insidious addiction? There are several important indications, which will help us to recognize this disease.

It is worth seeing a specialist if:

  • you have a problem with compulsive buying,
  • you can’t stop buying,
  • you buy things you don’t need,
  • Your relatives notice the problem, but you deny it,
  • you feel guilty after shopping,
  • if you don’t buy at a certain time, you feel stressed and tense,
  • you justify every purchase, even though you often don’t use the items you bought,
  • hiding new “acquisitions” from loved ones,
  • you justify your purchases with promotions and discounts,
  • you buy when you feel anxious or stressed.

Shopaholism is difficult to treat because many people are unaware of its existence. Today’s society makes it very easy to justify excessive buying. The world is heavily swayed by the vast access to various material goods, and consumerism is seen and promoted everywhere. Additionally, constantly watching commercials or browsing the Internet can greatly increase the urge to buy. Even by loved ones, the shopaholic may be excused from his or her waste of money. As long as he earns money and justifies his spending, the addiction is treated as a harmless hobby. In the age of new technology, shopaholism can become an even bigger problem because many stores also have their own websites. Ordering groceries online makes it much easier for the addict to persist in their addiction.

Unfortunately, shopaholics can be clever at hiding to avoid being exposed. They hide their credit cards and lie about the prices of the products they purchase. They justify their actions by claiming that the item they bought was necessary to them. In this way, the addiction may significantly worsen, so it is important to quickly diagnose and consult a specialist, usually a psychologist or psychotherapist.

Photo: Freestocks/Unsplash

Stages of treatment for shopaholism

The first stage is for the addict to admit that they have a problem with unrestrained buying. The shopaholic must be aware of the problem and also want to cure himself. With a willingness to change, he or she can much more easily undergo the necessary treatment.

The second stage is to talk to a specialist and find the cause of compulsive buying. The most common are:

  • hiding past trauma,
  • low self-esteem,
  • family or work problems,
  • trying to accept oneself,
  • addiction to advertising, TV or the Internet,
  • social pressure,
  • the desire to prove one’s belonging to a certain social group.

Behind shopaholism can often be a hurt person who does not believe in himself. Make-up, fashionable clothes or gadgets are the armor behind which wounds from the past or low self-esteem are hidden. Shopping can also compensate for lack of attention from loved ones or stress. Unfortunately, many people relax by visiting shopping malls to relieve everyday worries. So it is important to find out what your reasons are for not being able to stop shopping and why they are so important to you.

The third stage is usually treatment, which is aimed at eliminating the cause of shopaholism. A specialist tries to change the habits of an addict who often buys on the spur of the moment, without much thought. A very good method is behavioral treatment, that is, through habits and the 10-day rule. If a shopaholic wants to buy something, he should give himself 10 days to think about the purchase. After this time, if he or she still wants to own the item and has sufficiently motivated the purchase, he or she can purchase it. Of course, this concerns purchases that are not related to everyday life – groceries, basic hygiene products, medicines. Changing habits may take some time, but it gives great results. A good habit is making a shopping list before going to the mall, checking the amount of clothes you already own in your closet so you don’t duplicate them, rationalizing the desire to buy.

How to deal with shopaholism?

Many experts recommend paying cash or using several bank accounts. One card should have funds, which are intended for payment of current obligations (bills, loan installments, etc.) and grocery shopping. Another bank account should be a savings account, where you can keep money for the so-called “black hour”. A shopaholic should have access to only one ATM card. It is a good idea to lock the savings account so that you can only deposit funds into it, but cannot withdraw them without a prior instruction from the bank.

If you want to rotate cash, you can make some signed jars into which the withdrawal will land. This will make it easier for you to realize what amount you can use for purchases and which funds are free.

The fourth step is to stabilize your habits – writing down the amount of money you put away, having more control over your spending. Many therapists also urge shopaholics to adopt a more minimalist lifestyle. In this way, they will find it easier to control spending and income.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

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