Shopping Addiction: Is It Real?

The first thing to remember about any behavioral addiction is that regardless of whether it’s diagnosable or classified by the DSM-V, people can be living with and suffering from it. After all, it takes hard work, years of research, and enough people to come forward for any condition to become recognized and diagnosable.

Even if the scientific and/or medical community weren’t fully acknowledging such a disorder, wouldn’t mean that you or someone you love weren’t suffering from the symptoms of or effects of a shopping addiction. According to the most recent estimates, 18 million people in the United States are affected by shopping addiction, also known as compulsive buying.

People who are compulsive buyers often feel a high when buying things much like people feel a high when doing drugs or give in to compulsive gambling. It’s not uncommon for those who are compulsive buyers to resort breaking the law the support their addictions. Whether it’s stealing money to spend, opening up excessive credit cards or stealing others’ identities to gain access to more money to spend on their shopping addiction, they often find themselves in very similar boats as those who face other addictions, behavioral or substance wise.

For many people, shopping is a treat, an enjoyable experience. Some people shop more than others and some budget so that they can make certain shopping trips a priority. But for those afflicted with the compulsion to buy things, their financial situation or otherwise simply doesn’t matter. Negative consequences, despite becoming increasingly negative, don’t matter.

In the spur of addiction, achieving the same high as before is the only thing that matters and one will do whatever they have to attempt to replicate that feeling. Still, research is mixed and very little is known about this addiction to give any definitive information about it.

For help with a shopping addiction, it’s important to find a qualified professional who can advocate for you and get you in touch with the right resources.

Legg, T. “Shopping Addiction”. Healthline. (website). 2017
  • 1 Commentby Likes|Date
  • I think shopping addiction is very real. People can become addicted to just about anything. If something gives you pleasure, and you prioritize it to the point where it becomes destructive, that's an addiction. Shopping can definitely fall into that category.
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