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Shopping addiction Counselling

Shopping Addiction is one of the most socially acceptable impulse control disorders.  Like with other addictions, shopping addiction only becomes a problem for the sufferer when it is beyond their control or the consequences outweigh the good times.

Individuals with a shopping addiction will feel compelled to purchase items even if they neither want nor need them. It is often the case that the shopping addict will spend money even if they do not have it to spend, using credit cards, loans or any other way to get money.

It is estimated that approximately 6% of the UK population suffers from a shopping addiction, so if you fall into this category, know that you are not alone.

Shopping Addiction Characteristics

Unlike some other addictions, shopping addiction can be more difficult to pin point because shopping is a regular occurrence in everyone’s lives. We need to shop in order to get the clothes and food needed to survive. But when shopping turns from a normal everyday activity to an addiction, support will be needed to take back control.

It might be time to seek professional help if you or someone that you know displays the following characteristics.

  • A feeling of euphoria after a shopping spree
  • You argue with your partner over your spending.
  • You spend time fantasising about shopping and the items you will buy.
  • Do others worry about your spending habits?
  • Feeling of shame or guilt after a spending spree.
  • Have you ever broken the law or thought about breaking the law to pay for your shopping habit?
  • Thinking about how much you spent and feeling depressed.
  • Going into debt because of shopping.
  • Hiding how much you spend and/or the items you buy from loved ones.
  • You need to return items after you figured out how much was spent.
  • You identify with all or some of the above but think ‘I got this!’ its not a problem – denial?

Support Options for Shopping Addicts

As with all addictions, a good support system is a key component to recovery. Shopping addicts can gain this support from many places.

Shopping addicts can find support and a safe place to share their stories through mutual aid groups (e.g. shopper anonymous or spenders anonymous).

They can gain access to both individual and group therapy through both inpatient and outpatient services at a rehabilitation centre. Some will find strength and support by reaching out to friends, family, their local church, god or spirituality. Many will also make use of private counselling services which can also be helpful.

Counselling provides a safe and confidential place to talk while you reassess your shopping habits and your thoughts and feelings about shopping.

How Can Shopping Addiction Counselling or Psychotherapy Help?

Counselling will focus on understanding what the sufferer is using shopping to cope with and then identify healthier coping skills to address those struggles.

Because shopping is a normal part of daily living, it is difficult to eliminate it all together. Instead the goals of counselling will be to:

  • Identify the root cause of your shopping addiction and address it.
  • Develop healthier coping strategies for managing thoughts and feelings.
  • Identify a good support group to help you when you must shop.
  • Improve your quality of life.
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