Addiction is often only seen as a substance based behaviour, and shopping may not fall into the category of a life-destroying process for many people when they think about addiction. However, when we delve into the realm of addictive behaviour, we often miss the subtle nuance that is found within the “shopaholic” and the environment in which they exist.
Compulsive shopping or spending may result in interpersonal, occupational, family and financial problems in an individual’s life, and in many ways, the consequences of this behaviour are similar to that of any other addiction. An individual dealing with a shopping or spending addiction becomes pre-occupied with the behaviour and begins to spend less and less time with other important people in their lives.
It is also not uncommon for a person to begin to experience episodes of anxiety or depression as a result of the compulsive spending or shopping which that is now noticeably interfering with work or school performance. An individual who becomes addicted to shopping will also progress in behaviours such as lying and hiding their purchases from their family and keeping their charges to themselves. All of which are indicative of addictive behaviour that can destroy a person’s life.
With the advent of online shopping, this problem has become more prominent in society than ever before. Studies into the release of dopamine in the brain show that while reward alone releases a level of dopamine much greater than the typical level of release when unpredictability is added to the rewarding process the dopamine levels are found to be at their highest. Believe it or believe it not, this has significant implications when we are talking about shopping.
On-line shopping obviously means you’re not visiting the store for purchase, and when you place an order for a product online, you don’t get the product right away. You have to wait for the delivery, and in the waiting we find anticipation. This anticipation is the primary reason online shopping addiction has escalated to the levels it has in recent years.
If we think about addiction as an escape from our reality, a desire to remove ourselves from an emotional trigger we find unpleasant or unwanted, underneath the desire for anticipation, and beyond the release of dopamine in the brain, there is an underlying reason for the development of this addiction, and the desire to shop is quite simply the symptom of the problem.
If this sounds familiar to you and your behaviours, or those of a loved one you are concerned about, and you would like to make some changes in your shopping behaviours, take a look at the information contained in our website and the external resources for shopping addiction that we offer here at The Liberation Place. If it's time to make a change and reach out for some support, and recovery is a journey that starts with just one step, and you alone can choose to take that step but remember you are not destined to be alone when you choose to take that step with The Liberation Place!