Does Shopping Addiction Need Treatment?
We’ve all been a part of a shopping spree at least once in our lives. There’s no harm in it, it can be a fun time to find new things you like or maybe see more of your friends or family’s styles and interests. However, people rarely stop to think about whether what they’re doing is OK. For one, why are they on the trip? Is it because shopping is fun or was someone upset and this seemed like an ample opportunity to cheer them up? Are you making purchases because you want or need the thing, or is it because you felt the urge? Could you stop yourself from buying something you really want?
These questions may seem a bit harsh, but these are small signs to look out for that point toward a shopping addiction. It may not have the gravitas of drug or alcohol addiction, nor is it even close in terms of how often it’s talked about, but it can be just as devastating. Now, this naturally leads to the question – if I have a shopping addiction, should I get help? The short answer? Most likely. However, there’s a lot to consider before picking up the phone.
Shopping Addiction and Treatment Options
It may be self-explanatory, but for clarification and context, shopping addiction is when an individual develops a craving for and dependency on the dopamine they receive from purchases. Just like gambling, sex addiction, or internet addiction, shopping provides a rush during the act, then rewards the person afterward with the item they purchased, only leading to regret and depression. This may lead to coping with more shopping, or drinking which leads to further purchasing, thus making the process cyclical. This coping mechanism is referred to as “retail therapy” when one uses shopping as a treatment alternative to negative aspects of their life and is a staple of shopping addiction.
Signs of shopping addiction (as provided by Sober on Demand) include the following. Spending money when you are anxious, depressed, angry, or bored, buying items that you can’t afford but hoping to pay them back later, obsessed over money to afford the excessive purchases, feeling lost if not shopping, hoarding, and buying items, leaving the tags on, then returning them later.
In terms of receiving help, there are a few options, some better than others, but all better than nothing. There’s always rehab, though the downsides may outweigh the upsides in certain cases. Lack of individuality, high relapse rate, and no support afterward can be tough. However, if it’s worth it in your eyes, all power to you. In terms of alternatives, many prefer the addictions coach route. By searching on the internet, or by going directly to trusted organizations like The Addictions Coach, you can get help in the form of addiction coaching with accommodations made for most scenarios. You’d get treatment from home without the hassle of being away for 30+ days, it’s kept confidential, each treatment plan is catered directly towards the client, and heck, it can work in tandem with rehab if needed, picking up wherever you left off at your treatment facility. It’s ultimately up to the individual, as, again, any option is better than no help at all.
This finally leads to the question of why. If someone isn’t necessarily in debt and can possibly afford this addiction, what’s the harm? Well, just like drug use or alcohol, there are short-term benefits with inescapable long-term negatives. Money doesn’t grow on trees, and just like other addictions, tolerance can be built. Grander purchases might be made over time, or the accumulation of smaller ones becoming a weekly, daily, or hourly routine will have a serious financial impact. It doesn’t matter if you’re the richest man in the world, if you have an addiction, you need to sort it out before things go too far. Whether it be addiction coaching, rehab, or any other form of help, intervention is never a bad idea.