Shopping addiction: the meaning of compulsive shopping
The addiction to shopping is manifested with a need to buy compulsively and even sickly, it is a need to purchase all kinds of items, even without needing them, even without using them. The need to buy, becomes an uncontrollable need that for a few moments produces a certain degree of well-being, control over the ability to possess, to consume, to have articles that supposedly bring us happiness.
But this control is nothing more than a mirage, which leads to the opposite of a lack of control that can have serious consequences.
When purchases become addiction
Shopping addiction is a term we can hear very often, but not by listening to it often we must take it lightly. Addiction to purchases is an addiction, a behavior disorder, a disease that can have important consequences and that therefore should be considered with the appropriate gravity and should be treated.
What is shopping addiction?
Shopping addiction is a type of social addiction, defined by Echeburúa, 1999, as: "a loss of control over behavior, strong psychological dependence, loss of interest in other rewarding activities and, above all, that addictive behavior seriously interferes with performance of the person's daily life or causes him to deteriorate in the labor, social or recreational spheres of his life ".
Delimiting a little more the term in particular shopping addiction could be defined as a maladaptive pattern of consumption, which manifests itself with a loss of control over buying behavior, acquiring unnecessary items, in excessive quantity that can lead to surpass the possibilities economic factors of the person causing indebtedness.
Psychic mechanism of shopping addiction
The addiction to purchases responds to a psychic mechanism similar to that of other addictions. It is no longer the product purchased, but the act of buying that activates the reward circuit of the brain, providing a sense of pleasure and well-being. But this sensation is momentary and generates a dependence on it, which pushes us to buy again, more frequently and more. In a need to fill gaps for the shopaholic.
Beyond addiction, the meaning of compulsive shopping
With the act of buying, of acquiring products, an existential void is momentarily filled. In modern societies, capitalist and individualist, materialist and superficial, we are forced to follow dizzying rhythms, immersed in a continuous competition. We do not have time to cultivate our person, we do not have enough time to interact and meanwhile from different media we are encouraged to consume. The people who have social value, are those that demonstrate that value with their beauty, with their belongings, with their clothes, with cars, etc. By experiencing this emptiness and that need to be valued, that need also to be physically attractive falls into the addiction to shopping.
Consequences of shopping addiction
The addiction to purchases has important consequences for people who suffer from it. The apparent control becomes uncontrolled and the consequences are very serious. Consequences of shopping addiction:
- Economic problems and excessive indebtedness.
- Dependence on the act of buying, So much so that only welfare is achieved by buying.
- Inability to value oneself if it is not for the products purchased. Even damaging self-esteem
- Social isolation, work and family problems.
Symptoms of shopping addiction
When should we be alerted to the presence of this addiction? Let's see some symptoms that should alert us.
1. High levels of anxiety at the desire to buy or acquire an object.
2. Obsessive thoughts with the acquisition of the item, not needed.
3. Excessive purchases, many items not needed.
4. Many purchased items are not even released.
5. Desires to resist the purchase appear, but can not be controlled.
6. Once the purchase is made, feeling of well-being and relief.
7. Feeling guilty after buying an object not needed.
Tips to prevent addiction to shopping
Shopping addiction is a serious disorder that requires prevention and in some cases treatment.
- Avoid shopping centers and places associated with purchases.
- Try to control your impulse, ask for help if necessary, and instead of buying evidence to perform another pleasant activity.
- Before buying think if you really need it, if it really makes you happy, if it really is going to change your life.
- Avoid people who encourage addiction.
- Cultivate other aspects of your life.
- Avoid paying attention to the advertising bombardment of products.
- Learn to set limits based on economic possibilities, keeping track of what is spent each month.
- Avoid credit cards or carry too much money.
- Avoid online purchases.
- Reinforce and nourish your self-esteem.
- If necessary, consult a specialist.
Celia Rodríguez Ruiz. Clinical health psychologist. Specialist in pedagogy and child and youth psychology. Director of Educa and Aprende. Author of the collection Stimulate Reading and Writing Processes.