Before there was online shopping some people had a problem with over-spending on the High Street so there has always been something about shopping that can feel compelling for some people.
For most though, who enjoy shopping, they experience a pleasurable boost to their mood when they purchase something they really like.
However, when those emotions become heightened or exaggerated then shopping takes on an entirely different, more compulsive nature which is a sign that shopping is becoming something of a problem. It is equally an issue if purchases are made in a zoned out or disassociated state as that is not balanced behaviour either and again should be viewed as a warning sign.
The rise of e-commerce sites and online auction houses have made spending money online not just commonplace but potentially worryingly compulsive.
While shopping online, consumers can get caught up in the illusion that they are not really spending actual money. A credit card gets debited, often from pre-saved details, and that removes the mechanics of shopping. It feels good for a moment, but because those feelings are only temporary, it compulsively needs to be repeated time and time again.
There has been a year on year increase in online spending. E-commerce growth is projected by emarketer.com provider of professional insights into the digital marketing world will increase to $4.058 trillion worldwide by 2020, making up 14.6% of total retail spending.
Alongside that spending growth, there are already approximately 11 million people (6% of current Internet users) who suffer from some form of Web addiction, according to the American Psychological Association.
The implications from this statistical data are that there will be a dramatic increase in compulsive behaviours associated with the Internet which will no doubt include compulsive shopping behaviours.
Signs of Shopping Addiction
So what’s the difference between the occasional online or high street shopping spree and a real shopping addiction?
Many people love to shop, and many people also spend more than they can reasonably afford. It is important to note that going on a shopping spree once in a while does not mean you are a shopping addict. However, there are several signs and symptoms shopping addicts display that you may want to look for.
Emotional Symptoms of a Shopping Addiction
Like all addicts, shopping addicts may try to hide their addiction, and if a loved one is addicted to shopping, they may try to hide it from you.
If you hide credit card bills, shopping bags or receipts, you may be a shopaholic. In some cases, shopaholics may try to hide their addiction by lying about just one element of it.
For instance, a person may admit they went shopping and then lie about how much they spent.
Some of the other emotional symptoms you may notice with a shopaholic include the following:
Shopping as a way to deal with feeling angry or depressed.
Shopping as a way to feel less guilty about a previous shopping spree.
Continuing the shopping habits even though it is harming crucial relationships due to excess spending.
Physical Symptoms of a Shopping Addiction
Although most addictions have physical symptoms related to them, shopping addictions can have too. Someone addicted to shopping can experience mounting feelings of anxiety as they acknowledge they can’t go shopping or spend more money online. They can suffer palpitations and changes in heart rate as well as feeling uncomfortably hot and agitated. After shopping, they may feel momentarily calmer, and their physical symptoms can subside until they feel the remorse and guilt of the ramifications of their shopping expenditure.
Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of a Shopping Addiction
The short-term effects of a shopping addiction may feel positive. In many cases, you may feel happy after completing a shopping trip. However, these feelings are often mixed with anxiety or guilt, and in most cases, the guilt or anxiety may propel you back to the store for even more shopping.
The long-term effects of a shopping addiction can vary in intensity and seriousness.
Many shopping addicts face financial problems, and they may become overwhelmed with debt. In some cases, they may simply max out their credit cards, but in other cases, they may take out a second mortgage on their home or charge purchases to their business credit card. If you are addicted to shopping, your personal relationships may also suffer.
It is important to realise that like any other addiction; genuine compulsive online shopping is a disease. Specialist therapy approach focuses on resolving and ending addictive behaviour.
If you are experiencing compulsions to shop and over-spend and are ready to take back control of your life then you can book an obligation free discovery via the button on this page. Don’t hide away in secret with your mounting debts and anxiety. You can feel immeasurably better from even taking this first step to recovery. Book that call now.
If compulsive shopping has led you to money and debt worries then seek help. In the UK go to www.nationaldebtline.org or call them for free debt advice on 0808 808 4000. Check your national and local services for where you live.
Sally Baker is Senior Therapist, published Author and Speaker in private practice in London for face to face sessions and the world over via the internet.
With almost twenty years of professional experience, she employs cutting-edge therapeutic approaches to help one person at a time to transform their lives.
She has extensive experience working with people to alleviate their anxiety, depression, anger issues, eating disorders as well as conflicts within relationships and the family.
To find out more about Sally Baker, her books and her work visit her website, www.workingonthebody.com