Do you suffer from a shopping addiction? Would you know the signs of a shopping addiction? If you think you may be suffering from a shopping addiction, this article will show you the signs to look out for and, if you have got a spending addiction, show you how to get help.

It is estimated that over 13 million Americans suffer from some kind of addiction to spending money or an addiction to shopping. If you feel that you may have a problem of this nature, know that you are not alone. The good news is that there are ways to conquer a shopping addiction and that there is 'life after shopping'.

Shopping addiction - See the Signs:

Some of the classic signs of a shopping addiction are as follows:

  • Do you visit the shops at every opportutnity?
  • Do you go to buy just one thing, and come back with more than you had planned to buy?
  • Do you have items you have bought and hardly or never used?
  • Perhaps some items you have never worn or used and they are still in a cupboard?
  • Do you hide the extent of your shopping from others?
  • Do you make out to people that the things you bought were cheaper than they really were?
  • Are you in debt, or spending more than you can afford?

If you answered 'yes' to 2 or more of these questions, then you may be suffering from a shopping addiction.

Shopping addiction causes:

When we shop, a feelgood chemical is released, that makes us feel great about our purchase. It does not take long before that feeling good turns to a feeling of either impartiality, or a feeling of guilt.

Marketers are skilled at tapping into that psychological desire we all have for things. Without them, there would be no real desire for buying anything that wasn't a necessity. They will tell you your life will be better/easier/more glamorous/fulfilled if only you had their product. These marketing minds use a number of overt and covert psychological maniuplation techniques to make you feel that desire, which is why it works on so many of us. So don't feel down if they have suckered you in!

This desire that is created is fuelled by our own self esteem. It's easy to buy into the idea that if you only had their product, you'd look better, feel better, or be perceived more positively than others.

We make our friendship and romantic choices based on feeling equal to those people. We base 'being equal' on the things that we have – material possessions and how we outwardly present ourselves to those people. If we are short of friends or lovers, it's easy to fill that gap with retail therapy to hide our loneliness. Sometimes our posessions act as a 'shield' to psychologically protect ourselves from the outside world. We feel a sense of security, by what we have, rather than who we are.

The truth is, we are not all equal. Some people have more disposable income than others and are in a position to support their addiction, while others aren't. Either way, shopping is not going to fill that gap in your life. You still need to take time to understand what is fueling your desire to shop.

If you recognize any of the above signs, then perhaps it's time to acknowledge that there may be a problem.

Shopping addiction: Getting Professional Addiction Help

If you are in debt, you will need practical help and advice on how to manage those debts, get your finances back in check and conquer your spending addiction.

To understand what is causing your shopping addiction, you should consider getting expert help. Speak to a therapist who deals in addiction problems. Or contact Debtors Anonymous – even if you aren't yet in debt, they can help make sure you stay that way and get to the root of your shopping addiction causes. They can also advise you on budgeting for your debts and give practical financial advice.

Shopping addiction: Tools You Can Use Today to Help Yourself

  • Acknowledge you have a problem - that's the first step to dealing with any addiction
  • Write down the reasons why you shop
  • Is there a pattern or a trigger that activates your behaviour?
  • Whenever you see something you feel you must have, add it to a list. Wait for at least 30 days before you buy it. Check the list and see what items you really need or still want after that time. You'll find that the majority have lost their appeal.
  • Check your finances and plan a weekly budget. Spend only what you need, with a little extra for a small weekly 'treat'.
  • Withdraw your spending budget for the week in cash, and spend only cash.
  • Leave credit and debit cards at home
  • Get rid of all but one of your store and credit cards. Keep your emergency card frozen in ice in the freezer. If you feel you need it, while it's defrosting, contemplate if you really need that purchase.
  • Write a shopping list before you go out - and stick to it.
  • Find an alternative to hanging out in the mall – only go if you absolutely can't avoid it.
  • Take a look at the Debtors-Anonymous 12 step program – and consider joining a support group.