Do I have an Amazon Prime Shopping Addiction?
Shopping Addiction – What is it and Am I at Risk?
Shopping addiction is hardly addressed but may be one of the most rampant addictions in America. With the normalization of shopping at your fingertips due to apps like Amazon and DoorDash, making a purchase has never been easier, and has never been as addictive. These apps, for better and for worse, seek engagement. The suggestions Amazon offers before and after a purchase are meant to tempt you and make you feel rewarded for making those purchases. Addiction shouldn’t be a surprise, it was an inevitability with models like these.
However – what is shopping addiction? Does every purchase put you at risk? How do you know if you have a problem? These are all questions we’ll answer today to shed some light on an understated issue.
What is Shopping Addiction?
Shopping addiction is what it’s implied in the name. An addiction to making purchases. The differentiator between this and normal shopping is often the consequences. If one can’t help themselves from making that purchase, if they go on binges or splurge on items they can’t afford, these are usually warning signs.
What many don’t realize is that it’s often caused by avoidance. Whether that be to their responsibilities, or more commonly, negative feelings. As is the case with other addictions, it’s a temporary euphoria that can distract from everyday struggles, but in reality, only leads to the worsening of those same issues.
Signs of a Shopping Addiction
There are a few key identifiers in a shopping addict that one can look out for. For example, if someone is always thinking about things they plan to purchase, inability to stop compulsive shopping, a rush of euphoria after purchases followed by regret, financial struggles, lying about purchases, purchases for things they don’t need, or shopping when distressed or upset.
A common thread is the prevalence of purchasing decisions that are unwise, either due to cost, financial status, or relative usefulness. This often leads to those same purchases being hoarded or unused. There’s also the tendency, when these shoppers do so with other people, to feel embarrassed about their decisions.
“Retail therapy” is a term often tossed around when discussing the subject, and while admittedly over-the-top in some interpretations, there is some merit to the term. Retail therapy, for those unaware, is the implication and practice of the sentiment that shopping can be used as a form of “therapy” to soothe negative emotions. Evidence suggests that the term itself is a bit misleading as it doesn’t cover the same spaces that traditional therapy would thus not making it retail therapy, but as was mentioned previously, shopping addiction is often based on this. The avoidance of negativity with shopping as a crux.
This isn’t an uncommon phenomenon as well, with research suggesting an astounding 62% of polled Americans use purchases in such a way. However, it’s also important to note that while shopping addiction can come from that retail therapy mindset, they are not the same.
In general, shopping does tend to be a mood lifter. It offers a sense of control in a relative vacuum that comes with a tangible reward. It isn’t necessarily bad, but as is the case with most things with addictive capabilities, it takes moderation and large amounts of time between each “feel-good” purchase to be healthy.
So, in summary, retail therapy is more often than not present in shopping addiction, but the same isn’t necessarily true vice versa. It takes patience and in some cases a watchful eye from a loved one to do so wisely. If you or a loved one are showing signs of a shopping addiction, feel free to reach out to The Addictions Coach or Sober on Demand for resources and help in battling the addiction.