Addiction to spending and shopping


All women like to shop it’s a well known fact and some men too, but how do you know if your spending and shopping habits have gone past something you just enjoy to becoming an addiction. If you are addicted to spending shopping malls and internet shopping sites will draw you to them like a magnet, no longer will you just shop because you need a new dress, shoes, etc. but now you begin to make purchases just for the sake of it.

Other signs that you may be addicted are buying all the latest brands, designer labels, lavish gifts and picking up the bill when you go out to eat regardless of if you can afford it or not. The person addicted to spending will undoubtedly lie about how much they spend both to themselves and their closest relatives, often hiding price tags and indeed purchases they have made, in spite of feelings such as shame, guilt and of course the inevitable debt that they quickly get themselves into.

More often than not a spending addiction is an attempt to buy happiness but just like addiction to drugs the more a person does it, the more shame and guilt they feel and the more they turn to the addiction and gets wrapped up in a vicious circle.

How can a person become addicted to spending?

When a person feels anxious, worried or nervous chemicals in our brain kick in, called epinephrine which gives the body its own natural “rush”. Similarly when something happens that makes us feel good we also get a “rush” from chemicals called serotonins, someone addicted to spending will get this “rush” every time they hear the cash register “ching” or see their credit card has been accepted.

They then want to feel that “rush” again and again and so spend, spend, spend having become addicted to their own behaviour and the good feelings it brings. Gradually the only thing that matters to them is spending or shopping it no longer matters where and when and what they buy, in today’s world when the malls close their doors people turn to the internet to continue their addiction, with online stores being open 24/7.

How do you know if someone is addicted to spending?

Denial is a dead give away for any addiction and spending is no exception, if you think you or someone close to you is addicted or becoming addicted to spending then you are going to have to sit down and do an honest audit of spending habits. Signs to look for are:

  • How much and how often you spend
  • The decline of your bank account
  • Credit card bills per month
  • The effect its having on the family
  • The fears or insecurities that the habit attempts to cover up

Recognising and admitting the problem is a huge step in the right direction as with any habit, if the addiction has got totally out of hand and is causing problems with debts then counselling may be an option worth considering along with sorting out any unpaid and mounting bills.

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