Wayne Adult Community Center

From the February, 2003 Cyberspace News

Shopping:  Fun, But It Can Be Addictive

For many people, shopping is a lot of fun, a form of recreation. But too often, it can also be addictive. Yes, addictive just as alcohol, drugs, sex, or any other activity which cannot be controlled is considered addictive. It may not be a chemical addiction, per se, but it is a behavioral addiction.

More and more these days, psychologists are seeing a growing number of people with compulsive shopping disorder (also referred to as shopaholism). Many are female senior citizens who are often on fixed incomes and who simply cannot control their desire to spend.

The addicted shopper often has several credit/store cards. They may go out in a compulsive or uncontrolled manner and buy many of the same items all at once, items they may not want or need. Afterwards, they may feel guilty, get depressed, and combat that depression by going out and spending even more.

To determine if you might have a spending problem, ask yourself:

Ø    Are you having trouble controlling your spending?
Ø    Do you experience a sense of excitement or elevated mood while you're out shopping?
Ø    Do the people close to you express concern over the amount of time/money you spend shopping?
Ø    Do you find yourself shopping even though you'd previously decided or vowed that you ouldn't?
Ø    Is your buying causing problems in other areas of your life (like with relationships, finances, or in your social life)?

Why are people shopaholics? Many find shopping increases their self-esteem. Buying things makes them feel powerful, smart, glamorous, or more intelligent. Sometimes it serves as cure for loneliness, sadness, or anger.

If you feel you might be a compulsive shopper, here are some tips to help you stop:

Ø    Don't cany credit cards/ checkbooks around with you.
Ø    Keep only a limited amount of cash on you for essentials.
Ø    Don't window shop. Don't try to justify your purchases.
Ø    Try to avoid advertisements whenever possible.
Ø    Plan other things to do when you would normally be shopping.

Seek professional help if you really need it. Certain antidepressants have proven effective in treating this problem.

Source: www.thewayuk.com

4/2/2002 1440