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RECO Intensive
140 NE 4th Avenue
Delray Beach, FL 33483

Compulsive Shopping & Spending Addiction Treatment

Compulsive buying disorder and drug addiction are often connected. Both conditions have similar causes, and medical reviewers have found that compulsive shoppers are significantly more likely to have a life history of drug abuse or dependence.

While compulsive buying disorder is not officially recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, researchers have found that compulsive shopping involves similar psychological symptoms as other addictions but appears to be a distinct disorder. Shopping addiction is highly ritualized, and the act of shopping produces pleasurable effects and relief from negative feelings, which is in turn followed by a “crash.”

What Is Shopping Addiction Or Compulsive Buying Disorder?

People struggling with a shopping addiction buy things compulsively. This means they cannot stop shopping, even when it causes problems in their lives. Shopping addiction may be a kind of impulse control disorder or behavioral addiction and might even be related to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

According to a study published in the journal World Psychiatry, shopping addictions may affect up to 5.8 percent of people. Mental illness often begins in a person’s late teens or in early adulthood and frequently occurs with other mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, other mood disorders, and personality disorders.

Compulsive shoppers often find the urge to shop irresistible. They typically enjoy the process of buying more than the items themselves, though some also live beyond their means and buy expensive items to pursue social status. Shopping releases a surge of dopamine in the brain when they purchase items, much like using drugs or alcohol does.

Nowadays, many people with shopping addictions may shop online as well as in person. Since it is easier for many people to access online services than to go out and shop in person, online shopping addiction can be even harder to treat and to control.

Signs of Shopping Addiction

People with shopping addiction may engage in both impulse buying and planned shopping sprees. While most of us make the occasional impulse purchase, compulsive shopping becomes debilitating. Though the early stages of burgeoning shopping addiction can be difficult to accurately identify, more severe cases will make themselves apparent through an array of negative life consequences.

The characteristics of shopping addiction include:

  • Having a hard time resisting buying unneeded items
  • Financial problems because of money spent on uncontrolled or unplanned shopping
  • Taking out new credit cards, borrowing money from friends, or taking other extreme measures so you can shop
  • Feeling disappointed with oneself or depressed about one’s lack of control around shopping
  • Feeling guilty about how much money you spend online or in person
  • Problems with friends or family or problems at work or school because of compulsive shopping
  • Preoccupation with shopping or spending a lot of time researching unneeded items
  • You continue your compulsive spending regardless of potential consequences
  • You are anxious when you do not have access to shopping

If any of these signs apply to you, you might have a shopping addiction. Compulsive shopping can be devastating financially and emotionally. If your compulsive buying behavior has reached this stage, it’s important to get shopping addiction treatment and comprehensive mental health support, especially if you’re also struggling with a substance use disorder.

The Link Between Shopping Addiction and Drug Abuse

Peer-reviewed studies have shown a strong link between compulsive shopping and substance use disorders. Both shopping and drug use release dopamine in the brain and lead to feelings of euphoria and intense pleasure, and biological factors and other mental health conditions increase the risk for both disorders.

For a compulsive shopper, the rush associated with buying things can diminish over time. As the excitement of shopping fades, the person may need to spend more money or seek out higher-risk shopping experiences to feel satisfied, going on a shopping spree when they once would’ve only bought a single item. As their addictive behavior gets worse, they may experience more guilt that in turn leads to more shopping to block out that guilt and other negative emotions.

Some people even start using substances to heighten the experience of shopping. This is dangerous, especially if a person drives under the influence to get to the mall or shopping center.

They may lose awareness of what they’re doing and have blackouts, unable to remember purchases they made. Some end up in serious financial trouble. A string of blackout purchases can lead to severe debt and even bankruptcy. But with the right shopping addiction treatment, these worst-case scenarios can be avoided and recovery can be achieved. If you or a loved one is struggling with shopping addiction and a co-occurring substance use disorder, RECO Intensive can help today.

World-Class Mental Health And Shopping Addiction Treatment at RECO Intensive

Compulsive shopping can seriously impact your everyday life, affecting your ability to work, go to school, and maintain healthy relationships. RECO Intensive treats shopping addiction in much the same way as we treat substance addictions. Treatment strategies may include:

  • Psychotherapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be particularly useful for helping people with compulsive buying disorder identify and respond appropriately to triggers. Individual and support group sessions are a core part of our treatment programs at RECO Intensive.Family therapy may also help families of those with shopping addiction to understand what the family member with a shopping addiction is dealing with, and to learn to be a better source of support. All therapy at our treatment facilities will be provided by a masters-level mental health professional with plenty of relevant experience.
  • Medications: Medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may help some compulsive shoppers manage symptoms of underlying mental illnesses, such as anxiety and depression. RECO Intensive offers dual diagnosis treatment for people struggling with co-occurring disorders.
  • Lifestyle changes: RECO’s counselors help clients learn healthier shopping habits and coping mechanisms to manage triggers. We will also recommend regular attendance at support groups like Debtors Anonymous or Spenders Anonymous, where those with shopping addiction can receive support from one another in a group setting even after leaving treatment.You will also have access to a variety of holistic treatment options in our recovery program to support your overall mental, physical, and spiritual health, including services like yin and vinyasa yoga, equine facilitated psychotherapy, and creative and expressive arts therapy.

If you or one of you family members is dealing with shopping addiction or any other addiction, feel free to call us any time at 844.955.3042. Or, you can use this form to contact us online today to learn more about RECO’s compulsive buying disorder therapy programs and to schedule a tour of our Delray Beach rehab facility. There’s no time like the present to reclaim your life from shopping addiction, and access to help is just a phone call away.

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