Whether it’s buying that jacket you’ve wanted for a while or picking up a few new books from your favourite bookstore, treating yourself to a shopping spree every so often can feel great.

Compulsive shoppers are always chasing the thrill of the purchase, so much so that it starts to take a toll on their finances and relationships. Compulsive shopping, or shopping addiction, is when someone displays addictive behaviours (which we typically associate with drugs, alcohol, or nicotine) with spending money. This addiction can cause just as much damage as substance abuse. So, how do you know if you have a shopping addiction?

Signs you may have a problem

Shopping addiction can be hard to spot, as most people do indulge in a shopping spree from time to time. Some of the signs that point to a possible shopping addiction are:

  • Your urge to shop is triggered by your mood. Many shopping addicts feel triggers in their external environment that make them want to start spending. For example, an argument with their spouse or a frustrating day at work makes them feel the need to go shopping. Shopping addicts use the high that they get from making a purchase to avoid dealing with other emotions within their personal life.
  • High on shopping. With any addiction, there is a high that is being chased. Shopping addicts feel a sense of anticipation prior to their shopping excursions, a rush after making a purchase, and a sense of dread or regret after they’re done. If you find that your shopping trips make your emotions go into similar cycles, you may have a shopping addiction.
  • Buying things that you don’t need. Compulsive shoppers often find themselves indulging whenever they have the chance. It isn’t about practicality; it’s about spending for the sake of spending. As such, they often end up with closets full of never-worn clothing and other brand-new items. Compulsive shoppers that exhibit hoarding behaviours feel emotionally distressed at the prospect of giving these items away, just in case they need them.
  • Concealing shopping habits. It can be hard to hide compulsive shopping habits from friends and family members. If you have a shopping addiction, you may feel like you need to conceal your spending habits from those close to you. From hiding credit card bills to storing away your purchases, addicts don’t want to risk their loved ones finding out and taking action to inhibit their shopping addiction.

Causes of compulsive shopping

If you exhibit any of the habits listed above, there is a chance that you have a shopping addiction. However, compulsive shopping begins from nowhere. Some addicts have said that compulsive shopping fills a void in their lives and gives them a thrill they can’t get in other aspects of their lives. (This can be a reason that some compulsive shoppers start shoplifting.)

Other people suffering from shopping addiction have classified themselves as perfectionists and are always shopping in order to have the perfect thing for every occasion. Some feel out of control in their daily lives and spending money gives them that feeling of control over a situation. There isn’t one cause of compulsive shopping, but it often stems from issues that have nothing to do with trips to the mall.

How to overcome a shopping addiction

Many people are addicted to shopping and have seen how it has affected their income, their home, and their relationships. However, it is possible to overcome and move past shopping addictions.

The first thing to do after realizing that you have a shopping addiction is to identify your triggers. Are you shopping when you have an argument with your significant other or a long day at work? Realize when these things are what make you feel the need to shop. If possible, try to delegate all necessary shopping – like grocery shopping – to other family members while you give yourself time to recover.

The best way to approach recovery from compulsive shopping is to seek professional help. Treating addiction is no easy task and you don’t have to do it alone. If you need professional help reclaiming your space through decluttering and extreme cleaning, contact 1st Hoarding Clean Up today. Our compassionate technicians can help to clean your space and leave shopping addiction in the past.