What is Shopping Addiction? Am I A Shopping Addict?
Addiction is the situation of using a substance or behavior impulsively and with a repetitive desire, not being able to stop using it, and not controlling this behavior. When addiction is mentioned, substance addictions such as drugs and cigarettes come to mind first. However, there are also behavioral addictions such as gambling, gaming, and internet addiction. In behavioral addictions, repeated behavior creates the same effect as the substance taken and gives pleasure to the person. The person repeats the behavior to get the same satisfaction. One of the most common behavioral addictions recently is shopping addiction. Being addicted to shopping, taking more than one can consume and need has become one of the diseases of our age.
Being Addicted to Shopping
Shopping addiction is the condition of impulsive buying and not being able to control it. Shopping addiction should not be confused with shopping love. The two are very different situations. In one, a person acts by his needs. He knows how to stand where necessary, even if he exceeds his limit from time to time. What gives pleasure here is the product received. For this reason, this person is happy after buying the product he wants. The situation is very different in shopping addiction.
In shopping addiction, the person acts according to his impulses, not according to his needs. The desire to shop emerges impulsively, especially when certain emotions such as anxiety, unhappiness, and anger appear, and this desire must be met urgently. Here, buying behavior gives pleasure rather than what is bought. The person's mind is occupied with shopping until the buying behavior is completed. In addition, the fact that the shopping will cause financial difficulties does not prevent the person from stopping.
The shopping addict feels happy, relieved, and self-sufficient during the purchasing phase. Because, as in other addictions, the reward area of the brain is activated at this stage. However, this relief did not last long. On the contrary, after shopping, this person feels guilt, regret, and even shame. Generally, the more money spent, the greater the regret. Because it is not what he buys that gives him pleasure, but his buying behavior.
Online Shopping During the Pandemic Period
Shopping can be done online without going anywhere, has brought shopping addiction to a different dimension. Now we can get what we want, whenever we want, from where we sit. The fact that shopping is so easy and accessible leads to an increase in addictions. In addition, being exposed to countless advertisements of countless brands that we come across every day and constantly receiving discount messages are the most significant factors that feed shopping addiction.
Shopping addiction has gained a new dimension, especially with the pandemic process. Online shopping is not a new habit in our lives. However, with the quarantine due to the pandemic, many things that bring pleasure have become inaccessible. This has led people to seek other things that get pleasure. At this stage, online shopping came into play. Thus, many gaps felt and anxiety experienced were tried to be eliminated by online shopping. Right now, the house is full of products that they don't know how to use or what they are for, that they keep giving to others without using them.
Why Do We Buy Things We Don't Need?
A person with a shopping addiction usually has four different colors of the same shirt, countless items that he will never use, do not need, or even suit his taste. He takes them to have them. He doesn't need them, but his house is full of them. He even pushes his means while buying them. So, what drives people to buy things they don't need?
Shopping addiction serves one thing. The main reason to shop impulsively is to fill the emotional voids felt with the things bought. With the problems encountered and avoided to be seen, an attempt is made to create a front through shopping. In a way, shopping is used as a way of coping with negative emotions. It is a way of relaxation. While removing the feelings of worthlessness with the things taken, it is aimed to feel strong at the same time.
Although shopping behavior is used to cope with problems and negative emotions, this situation itself creates new problems. While it harms the person financially, it also causes damage to their relationships. So, in a way, it's a vicious circle.
Controlling Shopping and Consuming as Much as You Need
In shopping addiction, just like in others, the addicted person is often unaware that he is addicted. He thinks his behavior is under control. The priority is always to gain awareness on this issue. In the next stage, it will be adequate to set certain limits and rules for shopping.
- Creating a list of needs for shopping and acting accordingly at the time of shopping,
- Going shopping with limited money, using cash, if possible,
- Putting a limit on your credit card and not carrying it with you as much as possible,
- Credit cards and money not being in an easily accessible place,
- Going out with someone you trust and who will stop you from shopping,
- Always stay away from the places you shop,
- Avoiding registering your card on websites for online shopping,
- When your shopping urge arises, distracting yourself with something else will help you control your shopping behavior.
Family and friend support is critical and supportive in this process. However, it is helpful to seek professional help if it is difficult to control the impulse to buy despite every restriction and regulation.