by Jake Kastleman

Shopping Addiction

Shopping addiction, sometimes referred to as “shopoholism”, is very real. For many, shopping is fun. You have the opportunity to spend some well-earned money on some clothes, beauty supplies, movies, furniture, etc.

Many people do this, and it is perfectly healthy of course. When plain old shopping becomes shopping addiction though, is when somebody buys and spends impulsively and irresponsibly in excess.

Once again, there are many of us that make impulsive buying decisions from time to time. This is not the end of the world; though your wife or husband may disagree. It is when these types of irresponsible choices become frequent that you are looking at an addiction in varying degrees; once a week, several times a week, once a day, or even several times a day, without regard for financial resources or assessing of actual needs, is certainly harmful.

When these individuals do not get help, these effects can range anywhere from highly negative to powerfully destructive.

Compulsive Shopping or Spending Addiction

Shopping can be an addiction the same way that drugs, alcohol, pornography, or gambling can be an addiction. Keep in mind, a shopping addiction can include not only retail store purchases, but business, real estate, and other high-end purchases as well.

This can entail heavy consequences for finances, personal well being, relationships, and more. A husband whose wife continues to buy clothing behind his back, acting in the “denial-illusion” that many addicts do, until they both find themselves with three maxed out credit cards and a mortgage that can’t be paid certainly feels the full significance of what an addiction like this can do.

Awareness is key. Problems like this can be mended.

The first step is to be able to admit to yourself that you have a problem and that you need help and need to change. Something that is so socially acceptable as shopping can be very hard to recognize as an addiction. But, once somebody understands that they are struggling with something so uncommonly recognized as “shopoholism”, they can begin to see themselves in a more objective way. From here, steps can be taken to begin healing the sources of the addiction, finding new sources of fulfillment, restoring relationships, and building external and internal support.

Freedom from Addiction

All addictions seem to stem in large part due to broken or dissatisfying relationships and lack of genuine connections in a person’s life. These types of problems can stem from both the individual whom is struggling, as well as those with whom they do not have fulfilling relationships (or those they don’t have at all).

People need to feel valued and appreciated, they need to feel loved, and they need to feel listened to. If we do not receive these things from at least one person in our life, we often times search for other sources of gratification. Sometimes these other sources are very destructive and unhealthy.

These roots of addiction need to be explored. Once an individual becomes aware of their struggle, they need to journey through and be guided in discovering themselves, their needs, and the broken links in their life. Addicts hide their destructive behaviors; once they can become honest and open about these struggles, receiving genuine care and acceptance without judgment from another human being, they can begin taking these steps.

Many of those who struggle with shopping addiction can find safety in shopping with a trusted companion or friend instead of shopping on their own. Some of the most severe cases of those who suffer with shopoholism, end up giving someone else control of their finances altogether.

This doesn’t have to be the case with everybody though. Certainly there are many ways of developing resilience and changing thinking patterns and habits. These changes can be absolutely miraculous; they take time and they take effort. It takes constant vigilance and awareness to recover; as is the case for all previous addicts.

From what we have seen in our years of experience, an individual with a shopping addiction can go on to a lead a very healthy and happy life, free of irresponsible and impulsive buying decisions.

Is Addiction a Disease?

All addicts can do this. A recovered pornography addict can go on to have very healthy sexual relations with their future husband or wife, valuing them fully as an individual and loving them with their whole heart.

A recovered food addict can lead a life of very healthy food choices, regular exercise, and balanced fitness. Just the same as these addicts, a shopping addict can go on to be responsible and financially savvy.

Our brains are incredible.

The capability of the human soul is unmatched. We can heal our minds and heal our lives. From here, we can also mend our relationships and develop beautiful new ones as well.

We can develop a new identity. These changes take vigilance, it’s true. But if this is something that you or your loved one struggles with, we can guide you on your journey to overcome. You must know how first though. Let us take these steps with you. We incorporate methods of INT and are able to be flexible in our curriculum as it best suits your personal and financial needs. We would love to help you and your family heal and discover a life of freedom.

Contact Utah Family Therapy at: 801.901.0279