Charlotte Foster

Money & Banking

7 signs you’re a shopping addict

7 signs you’re a shopping addict

Online shopping is a huge help for many people, especially in lockdown. 

But, with online shopping rates sky rocketing, here are some tips on how to identify a shopping addiction.

1. Spending hours a day scrolling through online shops/apps

Apps have made it easier than ever to access a worldwide wardrobe at the click of a button.

As great as this can be for retailers and those always on the go, for those struggling with shopping addiction, this can be extremely detrimental as it has never been easier to instantly feed your shopping habit.

2. Spending more than you can afford

This is a common issue for those suffering from an addiction.

An addiction can lead to a feeling of lack of control, and this can include the amount we spend.

Much like gambling addiction, shopping addiction can have a hugely negative impact on our finances.

If you find that you can relate to this and feel overwhelmed about what to do next, please do reach out for professional help and do not feel afraid of being judged.

You can quickly find yourself dipping into savings, remortgaging your home and even in some cases borrowing or stealing from partners/family or friends to fund the addiction.

3. Feeling a loss of control

For those with an addiction, repeating the unhealthy action can sometimes feel like the only way they can regain control of their lives.

As we know, it is hard to step out of this unhealthy cycle.

With shopping addiction, placing an order is the only way some people may feel like they can feel in control for a brief period of time.

It is important to try to remember that this feeling of control will fade again and breaking a cycle like this is important for our mental health.

4. The urge to shop when you feel upset or angry

If you find you have the urge to shop more when you are going through periods of feeling upset or angry, this may be a sign of a shopping addiction.

Again, this is a form of trying to gain back control or take your mind off the topic that has upset or angered you.

For any ongoing depressive moods or mood swings, we would always recommend seeking advice from your healthcare provider – or alternatively from mental health services who will be able to give you advice on how best to tackle these feelings in a healthier way.

5. Euphoric type rushes

Do you ever get a feeling of exhilaration and/or anxiety whenever you place an order?

We have all got excited now and again about an order—but if shopping gives you an intense rush (as if you have just been on a rollercoaster) every time, then this may be a sign of addiction.

Euphoric rushes are caused by surges of the brain chemical dopamine.

Much like a drug addiction, the brain will produce less dopamine each time as it gets used to the activity.

However, the body then craves the exhilarating feeling and therefore people can feel like they need to increase the amount they spend, or number of orders they place, in order to get the highs they are craving.

6. Buying so much that you own many items never worn or used

If you find many items you have bought still have their labels on them, it may be time to think about how much you are shopping.

We are all guilty of having items in our wardrobe we swore we were going to wear on the right occasion.

However, if there are more than a few items in your wardrobe or in storage that you have not seen or touched since buying them then consider this before buying anything else.

7. Shopping in bed when you should be asleep

Many people with addiction struggle to switch off. At night, those with an online shopping addiction can find themselves unable to sleep and reaching for their phones, and specifically their shopping apps, for comfort.

Those with an online shopping addiction may find themselves more prone to shop on an evening or when they’re in bed with nothing else to do or concentrate on.

If you do relate to this then many can find that doing calm exercises such as yoga before bed can help relax the body.

We would also recommend turning off your phone or leaving it in another room for the night so you are less tempted to reach for it.

Further tips from the experts to curb the urge

  • Take your shopping apps off of your phones main home screen, or remove them from your phone completely
  • Monitor the amount of time you spend scrolling for clothes and other items
  • Understand it is not the norm to have the same amount of clothes as influencers – most of these clothes/items get sent back to the brands
  • If you need some motivation to shop less, remember the less items we buy, the better for the environment. Consider donating items you haven’t used or worn to charity, or donating the money you would otherwise spend towards a charity to offset your carbon footprint.
Most importantly, if you feel you are struggling with a shopping addiction, do not play this down.

Do reach out to friends and loved ones who may be able to help and make sure to reach out to mental health professionals.

Shopping addiction generally masks underlying issues of stress that may manifest into another addiction if you do not shop.

Image credit: Shutterstock

This article was first published for Reader's Digest

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