Among a culture where shopping is extremely normal and even necessary, it is difficult to know if we have an addiction. With some data and information we can know if this is our case and make the decision.
Among the many things that we have to do regularly in our daily schedule, and that usually go unnoticed, is the act of shopping: we have to buy food, products, clothes, hire or pay for services, and so on. And the truth is that many of these are needs, while others are mere whims. In this culture of consumerism in which we live, buying regularly cannot be classified as “healthy” or “pathological”. It is simply something that is normal and necessary. The problem is when the person has a compulsion; a need to buy. This problem becomes greater when a person does not distinguish between need and compulsion and, therefore, does not accept when he has a problem.
Although there is no physical risk with this type of addiction, as with alcohol or drugs, it is still a severe problem for both the person and the family. It is important to remember that like any other addiction, there are changes in the brain that cause this person to be impulsive, and if nothing is done about it, it can even lead to violence. A shopping addiction causes feelings of loneliness and dissatisfaction because the compulsive shopper is never satisfied: he always has the need to buy more. In extreme cases it can also cause severe problems in family finances. However, when we see signs of having this problem, we can make the decision to get help. Here are some symptoms that can help you know if you or someone in your family is a compulsive shopper:
1. Shopping gives you an adrenaline reaction
Like any other addiction, shopping addiction helps us radically change our mood. Therefore, when we buy not only a feeling of satisfaction is generated: it is both an emotional and bodily feeling of pure adrenaline. Some people experience palpitations in the body, a slight sweat of hands, and a busy mind thinking about many things. When we finally have things in our hands, it is not only happiness, but ecstasy. That’s a great indication that we may need help.
2. We continue to buy regardless of the consequences
One of the greatest characteristics of those who are addicted is that they continue in their actions even when their world is crumbling around them. Shopaholics keep shopping even when there is no money left, when all their credit cards have reached their limit, and in the worst cases I have seen they spend the money even if their family does not have enough to eat for that day. If all of this sounds familiar, seek help immediately.
3. We need to buy simply to feel normal
People with this type of addiction cannot stop shopping because of compulsion and because they need to buy simply to feel good. In other words, when they are not shopping or feeling that adrenaline rush they are depressed or anxious and to get rid of such feelings they need to buy. The purchase becomes part of who they are and not simply something they do.
If after reading this you have considered that perhaps this is your problem, do not lose heart: there is help and there is a way out. Get professional help and do whatever it takes to prevent shopping from controlling your life. Realizing that we have a problem and accepting it with humility is the first step, but one of the utmost importance, what follows will be difficult but worth it.