Shopping Addiction & Compulsive Buying: A Growing Concern In America

“When I shop, the world gets better, and the world is better, but then it’s not, and I need to do it again.” Have you seen the movie, Confessions of a Shopaholic? The main character, Rebecca Bloomwood, played by Isla Fisher, says that line to describe why she loves to shop.

Sophie Kinsella wrote a series of novels that lead to the script that follows a young woman who cannot stop shopping. While the story is fiction, there is so much truth to the concept and to that simple quote. Shopping becomes a drug, and the user needs a constant fix.

The fact that a movie like this was made, and did well, shows just how much shopping addiction and compulsive buying are a growing concern in America.

The high Rebecca feels when buying something is temporary. She sees that even though the world gets better and feels better when she compulsively buys, that it is temporary and she needs another shopping spree to make her world feel better again. It’s a vicious cycle of ups and downs based on something completely external. Does this sound familiar?

About 6% of people in the United States have some form of a shopping addiction. With a population of almost 314 million, that’s over 18 million people.

Instead of buying clothes and other stuff when it is actually needed, people are shopping as a recreational activity. Clothes and shoes are needed for everyday life, yes, but think about how much you are able to wear at one time. Now think of how many items in your closet you absolutely love. What is all the rest there for?

Think about the reason you bought certain pieces that are in your closet right now. Did emotions drive you to make that purchase? Are there feelings still connected to certain articles of clothing Would you say that these emotions and feelings are healthy?

Unhealthy patterns progress and it seems that shopping is a cure for anything difficult to handle these days. Are you having trouble coping with a painful breakup, or loss of a job or friend? Go buy yourself something nice. Are you bored? Go shopping. Sad? Go buy yourself something to cheer you up. It can also go the other way. Are you feeling great? Did you do something well? Go shop a little. Promotion at work? Go reward yourself for a job well done.

So what exactly diagnoses a shopping addiction or compulsive buying? Well, do you feel unable to stop? When you are on your way to buy something, do you feel that you shouldn’t be stepping foot into that store? Do you know that a shopping spree right now will mess up your finances, but you want to do it anyway? Are you buying things that you want instead of items that you need?

If you feel your behavior is out of control, you want to stop but you cannot, and you need help to make shopping and buying changes, you may be diagnosable. In any case, finding out how to stop is an important step. Just like an alcoholic or drug addict, abstinence is a very real part of recovery from shopping addiction and compulsive buying.

Treatment centers that help people recover from drug, alcohol, and behavioral addictions, like gambling and love/sex addiction, also treat shopping addiction and compulsive buying. A formal assessment is a great way to find out more.

The treatment team at The Control Center will help determine what treatment is best for you. Call now 877.813.2974 and start building a better life!