With the holidays coming up, it’s normal to feel a lot of pressure to be happy and jolly, and to spend like there is no tomorrow in order to give your family, friends, and guests the best Christmas or Hanukkah ever. It’s also the time of year that addictions can feel like King Kong. They ride your shoulders so heavily that you don’t know if you can make it through. No matter what your addiction is, you need more help over the holidays then you think. This is especially true of those trying to manage a shopping addiction.
Signs of a Shopping Addiction
From time to time many of us have from time to time joked about being shopaholics, but being a shopaholic is no joke. In fact it is an actual psychological disorder which is called compulsive buying disorder. In every way, the Shopaholic is as much a prisoner of their compulsion as an opiate addict or a compulsive gambler.
Some of the signs of a shopping addiction are as follows:
- Obsessing over shopping on a daily basis. Planning your days and weeks around shopping trips or purchases to be made online.
- Buying items that are never used. Some shopaholics by items just because they are on sale, but are instead tucked away in closets and other areas.
- Feeling an intense high or rush of pleasure from making a purchase.
- Maxing out credit cards and then opening new lines of credit without paying off the old ones.
- Even in the middle of intense financial difficulties, sufferers will continue to shop despite regretting and being ashamed of the purchases.
- Some sufferers will even resort to criminal behavior in order to continue feeding their addiction.
Surprisingly, equal numbers of men and women suffer from shopping addiction. people more prone to shopping addiction also suffer from a variety of preconditions that make the rush of pleasure they received from shopping all that more addictive. Sufferers are more likely to exhibit a lack of impulse control, low self-esteem, and may have previous addiction issues or eating disorders. Many also suffer from depression, anxiety, and personality disorders. At the same time, compulsive buying disorder is hard to beat because the reward for shopping is literally in your head. When you make that purchase, your pleasure centers get a potent punch that is hard to deprogram.
How Can I Beat This?
With all addictions, the first step is the hardest. The first step means that you must admit that you have a problem, that it is affecting and even controlling your daily life, and is harming your mental health, and your relationship with friends and family.
In the same vein, addictions are hard to beat by yourself. You need to figure out how to defuse your triggers, and support and understanding of therapists and other Shopaholics who are beating their addiction. Variety of different approaches treatment, that can include prescription drugs, talk therapy, and behavioral modification.
There are also a few things that you can do to help yourself break the shopping habit.
- Carry only enough cash or a pre-loaded debit card to buy what you really need.
- If you have been hoarding purchases that you don’t use, seek out a decluttering expert to help you get rid of the excess.
- Take a trusted friend and confidante with you when you shop, one who knows about your addiction.
- Work on clearing off a single credit card, and keep it for emergency use but otherwise out of reach. For instance, you might give it to a good friend to hold onto, or you can literally freeze it in a tub of ice. That way you can’t get to it unless you really need it.
- Clear your browser of all saved information. This not only will get rid of your passwords, but it will clear all saved credit card information at the same time.
Above all, seek out help. Shame often keeps addicts and the mentally ill for seeking desperately needed help that could alleviate much of their suffering. Nobody deserves to suffer or something that they cannot control. With counseling, medication, and support, addicts can become former addicts.
About Those Credit Cards…
Depending how deep in the habit you were, you could be stuck with anywhere from four to as many as six figures in debt.
For some, it’s just a matter of paying down balances. For others it’s a matter that needs to be settled by a debt consolidation loan, or even filing for bankruptcy. It’s a hard choice to make, but for those in thrall to their addictions for a long enough time bankruptcy may be the only way out from under a crushing amount of debt.
Too many people think that bankruptcy is something to be ashamed of. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is a constitutional right established by the founding fathers, authorizing Congress to establish uniform laws for bankruptcies throughout the United States. Bankruptcy is meant to be a relief from debt, not an abdication of responsibility. In fact, the number one reason for bankruptcy is not people spending money carelessly, but for medical bills. there are some restrictions over how often you can file for bankruptcy, and there are certain circumstances where the judge will deny your petition – effectively throwing you out of bankruptcy court.
Even a so-called simple bankruptcy such as a chapter 7 is a complicated legal procedure. Bankruptcy is a specialized practice for a reason, and the reason is the paperwork and court procedures surrounding even a simple liquidation bankruptcy.
If you are in financial trouble as a result of your shopping addiction, seek treatment and seek the advice of a lawyer and law firm who are well-versed in bankruptcies and debt issues of all kinds. Van Horn Law Group is open 7 days a week in West Palm Beach and in Fort Lauderdale to help you with all of your questions, and your first consultation is free. Call us today and let us help.