We all know people who shop until they drop. Perhaps, you may be one. Take a look below and see if you or someone that you know is addicted.
12 signs that your shopping is out of control:
1. You have a closet full of clothes with tags on them.
You don’t have to be adorned in new garb every day to be a shopaholic. In fact, it’s pretty common for a compulsive shopper to have items that sit unopened or with tags still attached—things that you’re ‘saving’ for when you really need them, explains April Lane Benson, PhD, a psychologist who specializes in the treatment of compulsive buying disorder. For women, these purchases often include clothing, jewelry, shoes, and accessories; men tend to buy bigger-ticket items like watches, cameras, and sports equipment, she adds.
2. You can’t go a day or two without buying something for yourself.
Even small purchases—like new lipstick (in the same shade you already have) or thank-you notes to add to the pile you’ve stocked away in a drawer—can signal problem shopping if they happen chronically. That’s because these unnecessary transactions, though small, demonstrate a lack of control when it comes to spending. ‘There are the big binge shoppers, and then there are the shoppers who are spending money where it’s a death by 1,000 cuts—in other words, no individual purchase is bad, but it adds up,’ says Art Markman, PhD, professor of psychology and marketing at the University of Texas at Austin.
3. You experience ‘shopper’s high.’
Shopping addiction is fueled by a powerful cycle of emotions—and this includes that sense of exhilaration or ‘high’ after making a purchase that can become addictive. Shopping releases the brain chemical dopamine, which is associated with feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. Dopamine also plays a big role in drug abuse as well as other addictive behaviors like gambling. Some people even experience a sexual feeling during the act of shopping, according to researchers in World Psychiatry.
4. You experience a let-down or buyer’s remorse after a spree.
We’ve all heard the saying ‘what goes up must come down.’ When compulsive shoppers buy something the brain’s reward center is stimulated, giving rise to that euphoric feeling or ‘shopping high’ they can become dependent on. But the high is quickly followed by a lowered mood after a purchase, explains April Benson, PhD, creator of ShopaholicNoMore.com. This can include feelings of disappointment, stress, guilt, and remorse. A true shopping addict, however, can rationalize any purchase if challenged—and this is despite remorse.
5. You’ve gotten in a fight (or two or 20) with your partner over shopping.
Whether the argument is over mounting bills, unnecessary purchases, or hours spent browsing online, if your partner notes your compulsive shopping habits, it’s a good indication that you have a problem, says Kimber Shelton, PhD, a psychologist in Duncanville, Texas. When the cycle of shopping and spending has negative consequences on your relationships, it’s a telltale sign that it’s time to seek help. Another red flag: You’ve continually promised your loved one that you’ll stop or cut back—and you can’t.
6. You depend on ‘retail therapy’ to cope with stress or anxiety.
Shopping makes most of us feel better and, in fact, a survey from the coupon site Ebates.com found that more than half of Americans admit to ‘retail therapy,’ or shopping to boost your mood. In moderation, this can be good for you; shopping can increase dopamine levels and reduce stress and anxiety. If you’re a compulsive buyer, however, you’ll begin to rely too heavily on these feel-good effects, which will become fleeting and quickly replaced with guilt or frustration over your inability to stop shopping.
Without detailed elaboration, take a look at the remaining six signs. They speak loudly and clear.
7. You feel anxious or irritable if you can’t shop.
8. You can’t focus at work or at school.
9. You’ve skipped work or social obligations to get your shopping fix.
10. You’ve begun hiding bills and forging signatures.
11. You’ve started hiding your habits and purchases.
12. You’ve tried and failed numerous times to stop.
After digesting these behavioral signs and taking into consideration the experts’ opinion, I have one question to ask. You can keep the answer to yourself.
Be honest, how many of the signs apply to you; to someone that you know? Are you a shopaholic? Are you addicted? If you are over the edge, you know exactly what to do! Stay out of the stores! May I add this extra tidbit of advice also – stay off and away from the on-line shopping sites; home shopping television sites, catalog ordering, or other forms of shopping inducements. You can do it! So can I! If successful, I wonder how much money this will add to our bottom line. Shhh. I’m stilling counting my extra cash!
Photo credit: www.rd.com; Source: www.readersdigest/Susan Jara