(Don’t) Shop ‘Til You Drop

Do you ever worry that you shop too much or even spend too much money? This is a more common situation than you think, and you aren’t alone. A “shopaholic” is a person with a compulsive desire to always shop and you can’t stop. It is especially more common now since you can buy something at your fingertips with all of the technology we have today. 

Shopaholics get addicted to shopping, due to the endorphins and dopamine that is being released while shopping. Your brain enjoys how you feel while you are in a store, picking out the things you want without a care in the world. Some even consider shopping therapeutic, which is a good coping mechanism, but it can’t be overdone. You have to set limits for yourself, or else it could have many effects. You may not even know you have this problem.

PsychGuides reports, “…the symptoms you experience due to your shopping addiction will be emotional in nature. The physical evidence of a shopping addiction may include a declining financial situation.” Therefore, it is hard to tell if shopping is becoming an issue for you, you just have to stay on top of your finances and take notice of how much stuff you actually buy within a certain amount of time. 

According to statistics cited by The Recovery Village, 6% of people in the U.S. struggle with compulsive shopping. Shopping is associated with uncomfortable feelings and shopping is a way to manage those feelings with positive ones. The enjoyment of making those purchases increases when the item is rare or able to bargain the price. There is a rush of dopamine when purchasing which can lead to behavior that causes a person to take longer, more expensive shopping experiences to feel good, similar to drugs.

In a study they, “found that the urge to shop was so strong that people bought something 74% of the times they experienced an urge to buy.” and “another study found that people with a shopping addiction were unable to resist the compulsion to make a purchase 92% of the time they had the opportunity to do so.” Addiction to shopping can be treated and overcome by therapy or recovery facilities. 

These results show that cravings related to shopping addiction can cause people to feel just as out of control as cravings related to substance addiction. We interviewed senior Colleen McNamara from Point Pleasant Boro High School and shared her personal experiences and thoughts on shopping. Her opinion states, “I probably go shopping around eight times a month. Clothes are a big thing for me when I go shopping, a lot of jeans and pants. I spend maybe around $150 a month on things I know I probably don’t need. But the feeling of buying something I don’t need is so fulfilling.”  

There are lots of people all over the world that have problems with excessive shopping. People use it to cope and don’t even realize how much of a problem it can be. This can lead to your finances taking an extreme toll. This can even lead to hoarding but it leads you to problems. Just take time to reflect and ask yourself how you feel when you shop and why, take control, write things down or talk with someone. There is a national helpline called the SAMHSA.