Shopping an Addiction?

<img src="shopping.jpg" alt="Shopping" width="300" height="200">

Can shopping become a serious addiction?

Numerous people see a trip to the mall as a recreational experience. For them shopping is not about picking up necessities; no – it is an opportunity to seek out bargains, to get updated on the latest trends and fashions and to forget about the harsh realities of life for a while. It is a chance to escape into a world where everything is available and a reason for enjoying a little forbidden fruit in the form of a designer coffee and a slice of cream cake. No wonder people commonly talk about “retail therapy!”

 Psychologists and experts warn that shopping can become an addiction. Too many people spend money that they truly cannot afford to spend on things that they do not truly need. This can have an effect similar to that experienced by drug users: first there is the euphoria of buying stuff and then comes the ugly reality of financial difficulties and the stress that it involves. It is a never ending cycle because the only way in which to escape the depression and financial anxiety is to go to the mall again.

This addiction can become very serious. Compulsive shoppers often lie about their habits and they neglect their families’ basic needs in favour of their own desires. The urge to shop can become obsessive and destructive. Many therapists acknowledge this condition as a bona fide psychological disorder that requires treatment.

As is the case with all obsessive behavioural patterns the key to recovery lies in support. If shopping has become a problem it would be wise to visit the shops only when accompanied by a trusted friend or loved one. The friend should be tasked to make sure there is a shopping list and that only the items on it are purchased. If possible, shopaholics should try to avoid going to the shops at all, at least for a while. Instead, they should find an alternative activity such as volunteer work to keep them occupied and fulfilled.