Black Friday can be dangerous, and not just because of the crowds rushing to get holiday deals. If you have a problem with compulsive shopping, our facility for drug rehab in Wilmington NC has found found that it can be a dark day for another reason.
Oniomania, the psychological term for compulsive spending, has been recognized as an impulse control disorder by psychologists and researchers. It is characterized as excessive shopping that leads to distress. Statistics published at shopaholicsanonymous.org show that 17 million Americans are compulsive shoppers.
Addiction of any kind has the same basic premise – it’s having an urge to fulfill an emotional need with something that creates a sense of excitement and thrill. It can be shopping, gambling, taking drugs or having sex. Once a person succumbs to the urge, he or she usually has feelings of remorse and disappointment. Do you think you might be shopaholic? Keep reading to learn more.
Black Friday and Shopping Addicts
Compulsive shoppers often have problems with anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. They may feel their self-worth is tied into the things they own. Our culture condones materialism, and the ideals we’re fed through the media can affect how we view what we believe brings happiness and shows success.
We even have terms that jokingly refer to how some of us use shopping as a way to make ourselves feel better. Some people claim to be “addicted” to shopping, or use “retail therapy” to help lift their spirits. While it sounds harmless in jest, some people really do suffer from compulsive buying that they may not be able to get under control. For people who are prone to other emotional disorders, shopping can easily become an addiction problem.
Compulsive buying isn’t the same as impulse buying, which is when people make a purchase on a whim. Impulse buying is unplanned and usually a small ticket item. A great example is buying a candy bar while at the grocery store. You didn’t go to the store to buy a candy bar, but you’re waiting in line and it looks good. It may even be on sale, which makes the purchase justifiable for some people. It becomes a problem when it’s multiple items, or expensive items that you don’t need.
What makes a shopping addict?
There isn’t one single cause of shopping addiction, which is true of most addictions. It’s probably a culmination of many different factors. People with shopping addictions often suffer from other disorders such as anxiety and depression.
Women have a higher risk for developing a shopping addiction. There are theories that this is true because women tend to do most of the shopping in families. They are also taught that shopping can be a way to have fun, bond with friends and relieve stress. Women may also feel shopping is more of an emotional experience, and the things they purchase may help them define their identity.
Your brain is also a factor. When the brain’s reward center is stimulated, it creates a pleasant feeling. The brain remembers the experience and associates it with whatever act or substance made it happen. If you get a rush from shopping, the brain takes note and begins to learn that every time you shop, you feel great. The brain can become dependent on that feeling and start to crave it.
People seek out good experiences in order to avoid negative feelings, or feelings of emptiness. Shopping can help ease those feelings, even if only temporarily. Generally, though, the high they feel after shopping is followed by guilt and remorse.
What are the signs of an addiction to shopping?
If you are worried that you have an addiction to shopping, take note of these symptoms. Call Legacy to talk with a counselor if you have questions about the different types of addiction or drug rehab in Wilmington NC. No one deserves to suffer when there is help available. If you answer yes to many of these questions, you may have a shopping addiction.
- Do you feel like you can’t control yourself when you shop?
- Do you buy things you don’t need?
- Do you like to shop in order to unwind or relax?
- Do you have a strong urge to buy things you don’t need?
- Do you hide things you’ve bought from your spouse or family?
- Do you have large credit card bills, or have you written bad checks for purchases?
- Do you feel guilty after a shopping spree?
Shopping online can also be a problem for some. It’s easy to sit in front a computer and order things with a few clicks of the mouse. Some may feel the same thrill as they would if they were in a store.
What are the consequences of a shopping addiction?
People with shopping addictions often have large debts or other financial problems because of their spending. Sometimes people try to hide the fact that they have so much debt. If they are married or have a family to support, it can cause financial problems within the family if bills are not paid, or if credit is put into jeopardy. The conflict caused between couples can cause stress and lead to divorce.
Someone suffering from a shopping addiction probably feels hopeless and out of control if he or she doesn’t get help.
What if I think I have a problem?
If you feel you have a shopping addiction, you can try to take steps to manage it. Don’t go shopping unless you need a specific item. Leave your credit cards at home, and take only the amount of cash you want to spend. If you see something you want, make yourself wait 24 hours before purchasing it. Take a friend along so you won’t spend too much or make impulsive decisions.
If you have an urge to go shopping but don’t need anything, do something else. Go for a walk. Make cookies. Take a nap. Read a book.
If you feel you can’t get your shopping under control, give us a call at Legacy Freedom Treatment Center to speak with a counselor.
Quality Drug Rehab in Wilmington NC | Legacy Freedom
If you suspect that a loved one is using drugs, call us today to talk to an admissions counselor about our treatment options. We are here to give you the support you need to get them help. Our personalized treatment plans mean that we will be able to find a solution that works for them. Because we offer outpatient alcohol and drug rehab in Wilmington NC, he or she can continue to go to school or work while getting help. Call us today to speak with an admissions counselor.