A psychiatrist offers advice on how to overcome shopping addiction

A psychiatrist offers advice on how to overcome shopping addiction

Many people come to therapy worried that they are spending too much time and money on things that mean too little. They may ask questions such as:

  • Am I addicted to shopping?
  • Why do I need to buy things to feel better about myself?
  • Why do I always feel like I need more?

The answers to these questions are not straightforward. Psychotherapy often takes a long time to understand the root of the problem.

However, a quick way to assess whether you have trouble shopping is to ask yourself if most of the statements below apply to you.

  • You are shopping compulsively
  • You shop to relieve feelings of emptiness
  • You shop despite the negative financial consequences
  • You shop in secret to avoid judgment from others
  • You feel ashamed or guilty about not being able to stop buying things

If these phrases describe you, you are not alone. A 2015 dimensional analysis showed that nearly five percent of Americans were compulsive buyers.

With social media marketing, targeted advertising, and influencer culture convincing more people to buy things for each other, that percentage is likely to increase.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are three strategies to help you beat your shopping addiction.

#1. Follow the 24-hour rule

Let’s say your brain has made a decision about buying new expensive shoes and all that’s left to do is cash in and wear them at home.

Here’s what you can do: Delay your purchase by exactly twenty-four hours.

Doing so will force you to go through a whole day of challenges, joys, sorrows, and expenses without the new element. In other words, it is no longer considered an impulse buying. Once twenty-four hours have passed, you can use better judgment to decide whether or not something is worth the cost.

#2. Don’t buy, just browse

Dopamine is a feel-good chemical that is released in our brains during pleasurable activities such as eating, sex and shopping.

classic one paper Posted in Brain Research Reviews He argues that dopamine has more to do with the search for rewards rather than the satisfaction that a reward brings.

Similarly, Robert Sapolsky, a neuroscientist at Stanford University, and suggest Our brains get a dose of dopamine from anticipating a reward more than the reward itself.

This may explain why window shopping always feels great and why actually owning an object of desire tends to lose its charm so quickly.

Here’s how you can extend these findings to your own shopping behaviour. Set aside a few hours each week during which you can browse the things you want to own. This way, you can enjoy all the positive benefits of shopping while avoiding its negative consequences.

#3. Buy things you can call

When shopping, one of the basic rules to follow: buy low quantities and high quality.

Buying trendy things may seem necessary to keep up with the neighbors, but it’s wise to buy things that you won’t need to replace often – either because they always stay in vogue or because you’re developing a personal relationship with them.

These items (a high-end wristwatch, for example) are generally designed to last and hold their value much better than cheaper items.

2014 study Posted in Journal of Consumer Psychology I’ve found that making purchases based on who you are as a person can increase your sense of control over your life. This, in turn, can reduce your reliance on buying more to feel happier.

Here’s an additional related tip. Save your purchases and choose debit cards over credit cards. This will ensure that you are more attached to the purchase due to the expectation of owning it. It will also prevent you from spending money that you don’t have yet.


Engaging in problem behaviors does not necessarily mean that you have an addiction. However, if you think your behaviors indicate dependency, one way to determine this is to talk to a certified mental health practitioner. In the meantime, apply these simple strategies to lessen the negative effects of your shopping behaviours.

#psychiatrist #offers #advice #overcome #shopping #addiction

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.