For the rich and famous, lavish shopping sprees are a regular occurrence. Britney Spears is considered by many to be the queen of compulsive shoppers, and is known to spend tens, and sometimes hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars on shopping sprees.
And while the glitterati frequently have the deep pockets required to support their over-the-top spending frenzies, and addiction, what about the rest of us?
Addiction experts label compulsive shopping and spending as a serious disease that can cost the afflicted their relationships, jobs, homes and other prized possessions, all the while racking up massive debts, usually on high-interest credit cards. Plus, while men are more likely than women to be addicted to drugs and alcohol, research shows that compulsive shopping affects mostly women. As with other addictions, the spending addict continues to spend and shop in the face of adverse consequences. Sometimes referred to as "shopaholism", compulsive shopping can create massive financial, marital, legal and family problems. These consequences are identical in nature to the consequences created from drug addiction and alcoholism.
Here are some signs and symptoms of compulsive shopping and spending:
Breaking Your Budget
Many times you will break your budget by spending more than you have agreed to. This can create tremendous financial strain as you spend well above your means.
When you go shopping you may go with the intention of buying one shirt, but before you know it you end up with six of them.
An addiction to shopping is a continuous problem and one that gets worse over time.
Hiding the Problem
You tend to hide your purchases due to the financial and family problems you have already created. You want to avoid arguments with your significant other.
The Return Cycle
You might often return your purchases due to the guilt and shame you feel.
It is not uncommon to find dysfunctional or unhealthy relationships in your home. Relationships begin to deteriorate as you spend more and more time away from home to shop, create more and more debt, cover up debt with deception, and start to isolate yourself from others as you become preoccupied with your behavior.
Like any other addiction, compulsive shopping and spending has nothing to do with how much you shop or spend and everything to do with consequences.
It is recommended that shopping and spending addicts seek professional counseling or a self-help group to deal with this problem. Addictive behaviors tend to come in clusters, so if you have an eating disorder, a problem with drugs or alcohol, or gambling, you may be a candidate for shopping addiction. Many communities have credit counseling centers that will also help with shopaholism.
This article was supplemented with information from www.recoveryconnection.org.