Who doesn't like to splurge on themselves every once in awhile? Many of us call ourselves shopaholics. But for some Americans, it's much more serious than that. Shopping is an addiction. And it effects more of us than you might think.
Whether it's something as simple as a pair of new shoes, or something bigger like a brand new car, for lots of us, shopping makes us feel good. But for some people it is actually a dark cloud. They just can't stop. They become addicted, just as one would become addicted to drugs and alcohol. Their lives become organized around their shopping trips.
About 6 percent of the U.S. adult population shops compulsively. Most of those are women. It tends to start early in their teen years or early 20's, and it can rapidly become chronic. Compulsive shoppers have reported experiencing a sense of tension or anxiety before buying and feeling a sense of relief after a purchase.
They tend to spend many hours each week shopping and spending. And here's the big problem: Compulsive shopping has nothing to do with income. Many are spending money that they don't have.
So, what's making it easier to become addicted these days?
Experts say part of the problem is the ease in which you can obtain a credit card. Also, the ease in which you can use them online. Experts say those who are most vulnerable to becoming addicted to shopping are people who have lower self esteem. Many have other mental health problems, like depression or even another addiction.
There is help out there for you if you are a compulsive shopper. There are 12 step programs out there to help you cope with your addiction. Most towns have "Shoppers Anonymous" or "Over Spenders Anonymous". Remember, addiction is medical problem. Be sure to talk to your doctor. Perhaps therapy will help you. They may even be able to prescribe a medication.
Most importantly, experts recommend that you get rid of your credit cards. Also, don't shop alone. For those who shop on the Internet, either stop your Internet service or put your home computer in the kitchen or other place where family members can see it.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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