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Signs You Could Be a Shopaholic

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While shopping can be a pleasurable pass time, from spending a Saturday at the mall to gift giving during the holiday season, a shopping or spending habit can sometimes spiral out of control and become an addiction. These habits are not only psychologically harmful, but financially dangerous if overspending becomes an addiction.

Why is shopping addictive?

While it is unclear what causes addictive behavior, some 10 to 15 percent of people have a genetic predisposition toward addiction, according to the Health Science Department at Indiana University. Coupled with the correct environment, the disposition can be triggered and lead to addiction.

Biologically, a person receives a kind of high when shopping because endorphins and dopamine are released. These chemicals are natural opiates, which make the shopper feel good and reinforce the behavior.

Signs of a Shopaholic

A shopaholic is a compulsive buyer, meaning if a person goes to the store to buy one pair of shoes he or she will leave with 10. Additionally, shopaholics will continue to spend money, instead of limiting themselves to occasional trips or holiday shopping.

Just as an alcoholic will hide empty beer bottles, a shopaholic will hide purchases. These people hide their lot because they fear criticism, and will often create separate credit card accounts to further veil the issue.

In many cases of marriage, one partner will find that the other owes a great sum of debt. The debt is sometimes unforgivable, and the addiction therefore can lead to divorce. In other relationships, as well, it is not uncommon for shopaholics to isolates themselves from home to shop and cover up debt with deception.

Could You Be a Shopaholic?

According to the Proctor Hospital at the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery, a person who exhibits four or more of the following habits may have a shopping problem:

* Juggling bills to accommodate spending

* Thinking obsessively about money

* Lying about how much money was spent

* Feeling lost or going into withdrawal without credit cards

* Shopping or spending money as a result of feeling angry, depressed
or lonely

Treatment

The first step to overcoming any addiction is admitting to the problem itself. Some things that can help end shopping addiction include getting rid of check books and credit cards, shopping with a friend instead of alone, finding other meaningful ways to spend time.

Source: Web MD