We all know about many kinds of addictions: alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, coffee, food, gambling, TV, the Internet. But for some reason, many people don’t take shopping addiction seriously. Although the process of shopping itself is not an addiction, but quite a pleasant pastime.

Experts consider shopaholics as patients with a kind of obsessive-compulsive disorder. The desire to buy yourself some things without a particular need or some trinkets becomes a disease when the desire to shop turns into an obsessive-compulsive syndrome. It is noteworthy that for the shopaholic it is often the process of shopping that is important, not the thing itself. In this case, they feel sensations similar to the narcotic effect – euphoria, ecstasy. But when the thing is already paid for, the hunt for a new “dose” begins. Purchases are made impulsively and have no practical value for the shopaholic.

So what are the signs that help distinguish a shopaholic from an addict?

  • Constant shopping, with no real need to buy.
  • Looking at the range, reading labels, trying on – but not what you need, everything in sight.
  • An overwhelming desire to buy something in the absence of an objective reason for this – for example, the desire to buy an almost identical hairdryer, even though there is already almost the same one at home, which was bought a week ago and is not even going to break.
  • Bad mood, irritability in case a shopaholic is deprived of an opportunity to go shopping
  • Going in those departments and stores (and shopping there) that have nothing to do with the shopaholic’s lifestyle and hobbies – for example, buying a sleeping bag for extremely low temperatures by a person who has never traveled to nature with overnight stays even in non-extreme conditions, just because this sleeping bag is on discount.

What to do?

First, you need to realize that excessive shopping hobbies are a problem. Your problem. And then think about what exactly you get out of the shopping process, how do you feel while shopping and after? Maybe it’s the pursuit of a limited edition pair of sneakers that gives you special pleasure, but what you really lack in life is drive and excitement? Or does knowing you own a Prada bag make you feel more confident in society? If so, you need to learn how to be in high spirits and feel confident without these purchases. 

The easiest way to find cause and effect is to write down your purchases and the thoughts you had before, during, and after them. Given that these notes are for you, you can describe everything quite extensively, like a pitch deck of a startup for investors, or just keep short notes of your thoughts and feelings – the main thing is that these notes help you to understand yourself.

Perhaps you should get a new hobby that does not require significant spending, expand your circle of acquaintances, invest in health and education, not in things. If you can not figure it all out on your own, a visit to a psychologist can quickly figure out why you are so eager to buy up everything.

You can also independently take a few steps to get rid of shopaholism.

  1. Remember that shopaholism is not an innocent pastime, but a real problem. Otherwise, you risk losing your head literally on the street, passing by the window display “Only today! 80% off!”. As long as you convince yourself that you need all the stuff you buy, you won’t start fighting shopaholism.
  2. Make a list of necessary purchases before you go shopping. And analyze it carefully: do you really need that super floor mop, or is the regular one, three times cheaper, quite capable of doing its job? Do you have to have that beautiful new Villeroy & Boch set if you already have at least three? And, of course, follow this list, try not to go into departments that don’t have items on your list, even “just to see.”
  3. Estimate how much money you need to buy all the things on your list. And take an approximate amount with you, and in cash. Don’t take cards to the stores – this virtual money is very easy to spend.
  4. When you have an unbearable desire to buy something, think about its use. If it’s hard to imagine what exactly you need it for, it’s easier to refuse it. Another option: postpone the purchase. Perhaps the next day you will realize that you don’t need it at all.
  5. You urgently need to buy something, you can’t help yourself? Think about what you were asked to buy by your spouse, children, or parents. Go to the store and buy it. So you will treat yourself and your family, and also relieve the “buying itch”.

Featured photo by Sam Lion/Pexels