WHEN SHOPPING IS A PROBLEM
Many people enjoy shopping, and for most, it is simply a pleasant part of everyday life. However, for some people the enjoyment becomes an uncontrolled obsession. Ironically, obsessive shopping is compared to other addictions. It does not, of course, ruin the addict’s health in the same way as alcohol drinking or smoking but definitely there are some dangers posed by this kind of addiction.
There is a thin line between a person who likes to shop and a person who shops obsessively. Both types enjoy shopping very much. However, shopping addiction begins with buying of things a buyer does not need. This is shown when a person simply cannot stop buying even after promising themselves not to do so.
One of the problems shopping addicts face is connected with their family budget. If a shopaholic finds it hard to pay their bills, they tend to take out bank loans or apply for credit cards. Although such solutions seem to ease the pain of paying for household debts, they in fact make the addict spend more money and may put them at risk of bankruptcy. Obsessive shoppers fully realize this risk but as their credit cards give them an impression of not paying for things at all, they keep buying all kinds of items weather they are expensive or not.
For obsessive shoppers there is no need to plan a shopping trip around a mall to throw away a few pounds or to invent a pretext for that. But there are certain occasions which cause them to spend mindlessly particularly large sums. Any unexpected reception or family gathering immediately calls for a shopping trip. Even an evening chat at a friend’s place makes the addict buy a new outfit to mark the occasion.
Almost all shopaholics believe that shopping will make them feel better, but in reality they end up more frustrated because of the growing bills. Then the only way to cheer themselves up is to buy more things. As this circle goes on, shopaholics feel guilty for spending the money.
In most cases the addicts don’t require any special treatment and can cure themselves of their addiction. However, they must honestly accept that they have a problem because they tend to deny it. Then they have to stay away from shopping until their obsession passes. On the other hand, obsessive shopping can sometimes become much more serious if it is unnoticed by family members living with the addict. Shopaholics tend to thoroughly hide their addiction, so people living close to them may not simply realize the problem. Extreme cases of the addiction can lead to financial ruin, divorce or even minor offences. At that point, obsessive spending takes over the shopaholic’s life and is impossible to stop without a specialist therapy.
Specialist therapies are guided by clinical psychologists and take two separate courses of action - medication or mediation. While the effects of new generation drugs are not very spectacular, talks produce most satisfying results when they address the areas of the addict’s life that have been touched by the addiction. Additionally, to some extent, spending time with family or friends may also help control negative feelings, emotions and, most of all, forget the bad history. So far specialists have not combined both treatments.
All in all, it is important to treat shopping as part of everyday life and do not let it go beyond fun or routine.
adapted from www.ayushveda.com