Shopping Spree or Addiction?

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All across America there are malls filled with clothing, makeup, scents, and other merchandise that appeal to men and women alike. Everyone has seen these shoppers leaving such brand-name stores, toting more than a few hefty bags of purchases; and there are more than a couple well-known movies in which young girls exuberantly think, "shopping spree!" But when does a shopping spree become addiction? When does it become a serious matter?

As an American pastime, shopping is a popular activity not only during the holidays, but year-round for occasions and events such as birthdays, back to school shopping, and even for simple endeavors such as "retail therapy" for girls suffering from a break-up. There are a hundred reasons (or excuses) to hit the store, but for some, these reasons can lead up to an addiction. Someone may have the constant urge to buy stuff they don't need. A need to purchase, and obtain more stuff.

The best way to define an addiction is a habit or process which is repetitious and unavoidable, which causes negative consequences in many aspects of one's life. Typical aspects of healthy living which begin to deteriorate on account of shopping addictions are relationships, financial standing, physical and mental health. The spending is defined as inappropriate, excessive and out of control. Shopping addiction is tied closely to an impulse control disorder, in which people seek quick satisfaction out of purchasing objects (which may or more often may not be needed.)

With shopping so embedded in American culture it can be hard to identify whether a person is suffering from shopping addiction. The people who are shopping excessively will often try to hide the problem of compulsively buying; this often results in the purchase of pointless items. However, to this day, the most common way for a shopping addiction to become discovered is when the shopping goes over-budget. Or simply, one of America's most feared words: debt. Many people have lost homes, destroyed credit and even lost their jobs because of severe over-spending.

The cause for shopping addiction is never easy to pin-down, and can be different for each person. Many believe that shopping addiction can be an attempt at gaining the feeling of control in life. Past traumatic events, or unhappiness in life, often fuel shopping addictions and must be sorted out with a professional therapist in the field of rehabilitation. Like many other addictions, those who suffer from shopping addiction are often in denial of the problem they face, or may accredit it to others or unrelated factors. It is important to approach a person suffering from shopping addiction with care. The idea is to persuade them to seek help for the addiction, not to scare them away or anger them; this will give them the opportunity to clearly weigh the consequences of their actions beforehand.

For many who are addicted to shopping, by the time they reach help for their addiction, it is common for a high debt to have already accumulated. The average debt caused by shopping addiction hovers around $70,000. Those entering a program to rehabilitate from shopping addiction will often also need financial counseling and assistance to deal with the financial hole they dug themselves into. Both financial assistance and therapeutic assistance are widely available at a rehabilitation center for those who struggle with a shopping addiction.

For more information on our addiction treatment programs and therapeutic approaches, call toll free at: 800-960-5041. Florida Center for Recovery offers residential drug and alcohol rehab treatment through 12-Step and Non 12-Step Programs.

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