Holiday Spending Can Fuel Shopping Addiction

It’s that time of year again. With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, comes the festive TV ads for this year’s hottest electronics and overflowing inboxes filled with 50% off promotions. This can be a particularly difficult time for those who struggle with a shopping addiction.

Categorized as a behavioral addiction, shopping addiction (also known as compulsive buying disorder or oniomania) is when a person experiences an excessive or overwhelming desire to make purchases, without any true need for the item, and regardless of any resulting adverse consequences.

Like other behavioral addictions, a shopping addiction has the potential to disrupt a person’s life in many ways, including:

If you feel like your shopping patterns result in these consequences, your compulsive habits may be leading you down a path to addiction.

Signs Of Shopping Addiction

It’s important to note that enjoying shopping trips and giving gifts to loved ones is normal, particularly at this festive time of year. However, if you are unable to control your shopping habits during the holidays, it could indicate a larger problem. Signs of shopping addiction to look out for include:

  • Preoccupation and obsessive thoughts about shopping
  • Shopping solely to relieve negative emotions
  • Experiencing excitement or euphoria when making purchases, followed by regret and guilt
  • Hiding or lying about purchases
  • Neglecting personal or financial responsibilities to be able to shop

While exhibiting some of these signs does not necessarily mean you have a shopping addiction, over time they can develop into compulsive behaviors that are indicative of a behavioral addiction. That’s why it is essential to be aware of your spending habits, feelings, and motivations surrounding shopping.

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Tips To Be Mindful About Holiday Spending

While it can be hard for some to resist the holiday deals, it’s important to have plans in place to keep holiday spending from going out of control.

If you plan on shopping this holiday season, here are a few tips on how to be mindful and avoid overspending:

Set A Budget

Review your expenses and decide on a realistic limit. For each gift you plan on purchasing, come up with a price you’re comfortable with and stick to it.

Trim Your List

Trim down your gift-giving list to close friends and family. For others who fall outside of it but have received a gift in the past, explain that your financial situation has changed and substitute with a less-expensive gift like candy or homemade cookies.

Decide On One Gift Per Group

Gift-giving games like a Secret Santa or white elephant gift exchange allow for one thoughtful gift to be purchased per group.

Give A Gift At No Cost

Lastly, for those who didn’t make the gift list, but who you’d still like to include this season, consider writing a thoughtful card or giving your time as a gift. The memories created and laughter shared together are priceless.

Treatment For Shopping Addiction

If you feel like you are exhibiting signs of a shopping addiction, help is available. Treatment for shopping addiction generally includes a mixture of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and counseling, which focuses on identifying any root causes and underlying issues and developing healthy coping mechanisms to better handle triggers.

For those dealing with a shopping addiction, online therapy can provide the support they need to take back their lives from compulsive habits and obsessive thoughts. It allows them to receive counseling from licensed therapists on their own schedule and from the comfort of their own home. If you feel like online therapy is right for you, explore the full list of online therapy options and get started today.

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Jessica Sherer

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  • Jessica Sherer earned her B.A. in English from Ashford University and has over eight years of copyediting experience in healthcare education. Dedicated to providing clear and useful information, she hopes her work will help to support those affected by addiction.

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