On one’s list of priorities, keeping finances in order falls roughly within the top 5 and over-spending…well…is likely to set your goals back a couple of notches. There’s nothing wrong with caving into the impulse to buy that new bag and matching shoes, but when an impulse turns into compulsive spending, and you’re no longer in control, that’s when the complications tie in.
Most importantly, it certainly doesn’t benefit your emotional health. In a society based on materialism and superficial beauty the likelihood of over-spending is higher. In an attempt to keep up with the joneses, over spending is a way to stay current on the new looks that break your pockets. According to a recent article in Delux Managazine, “women comprise the large majority of those with a shopping addiction, but middle class men between the ages of 20-55 who live in large cities also fall prey.”
Studies also show that around 7% of the population have a Compulsive Shopping Disorder also known as Oniomania, which runs a little deeper than your average retail therapy sessions at the mall. The habit can land you in some serious debt!
Problems like a shopping disorder should be taken as seriously as other addictive behaviours such as alcoholism, drug abuse, gambling or binge eating. Because it is characterized as an impulse-control issue –– and can possibly create a whirlwind of emotional and financial distress.
According to the Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, “the maladaptive spending behavior is associated with serious psychological, social, occupational, and financial problems. Treatment-seeking patients with CB suffer from substantial psychiatric comorbidity (e.g., anxiety and depressive mood disorders, compulsive hoarding, binge eating disorder). Representative surveys revealed prevalence estimates of CB between 6% and 7% and indicate that younger people are more prone to develop CB.”
After a day of compulsive shopping, one factor of the ailment is remorse. Imagine feeling 3 times as worse because it’s uncontrollable and can eventually harm you down the line. Experiences of depression also follow because of enormous debt, missed bills and inability to function otherwise. The signs are clear:
Signs you have a Spending Problem:
- Your spending habits cause fights or garner concerns from loved one
- You have several credit cards but that you use
- Essex unopened, tagged, or useless items/hoarding
- Shopping out of frustration and as a way to deal with problems
- Experiencing a rush when you shop
- Feelings of anxiousness on the days you don’t shop
- Purchases are followed by feelings of remorse and depression
- Hiding your shopping habits
If a problem persists, seek counseling as well as talking steps to limit you’re spending will help. The following tips may ease the process:
- Pay for everything in cash to know exactly how much you can spend
- Cut credit cards
- Find a financial counselor or take a budgeting course
- Pray for the ability to control your habit
- Don’t shop alone so you have someone to hold you accountable
- Keep a list of what you need and don’t stray away from it
- Avoid sales and clearance items as an excuse to save money
When shopping becomes an obsession, it’s caused from more deeply rooted issues and concerns, according to Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Angela Wurtzel.
“Eating Disorders, Self-Injury & Compulsive Shopping Treatment is common that trauma is behind self-destructive tendencies. It is what some trauma experts refer to as a solution to what is unbearable,” she wrote on her website.
An addicted shopper will avoid unlocking or remembering traumatic events, which can be both clarifying and horrifying. Her advice is to uncover the behavioral patterns and unconscious motivations associated with process addictions, identify the “deprivation, emptiness and satiation” and work on setting personal boundaries with spending.
Written By: Taylor Bennett
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