Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Shop, Therefore I Am

Shopping can be a fun and relaxing experience.  It’s a welcome break from the daily routine and can even take on a meditative quality for some individuals allowing them to process thoughts running in the back of their minds.  The discovery of a desired object or the perfect addition to decorating a room can feel like a small victory that allows us to rejuvenate and gear up for more difficult tasks. 

However, there is a point when shopping for fun on occasion crosses a line and the individual becomes what is known as a shopaholic.

Shopaholics put themselves and their families in financial danger.  Their shopping escapades are often shrouded in secrecy and feelings of humiliation.  Shopaholics will frequently run up large credit card debt and many will work more than one job to keep up with the payments.  They can even spend so much money on compulsive shopping that they are unable to pay more essential bills such as rent or utilities.  They can put their relationships in jeopardy and even put their careers at risk by spending too much time on the Internet while at work.

Some shop to medicate bad feelings.  Uncovering what those feelings are, giving them expression and dealing with them in therapy would be a way of handling this type of excessive shopping.  Some people shop during the manic phase of a bi-polar episode.   They delude themselves into thinking that they are immune to any negative effects of their over shopping behavior.  These individuals could receive benefit from medications such as mood stabilizers.

Some shopaholics are obsessive compulsive.  These shoppers feel compelled to buy multiples of any particular item.  Sometimes, they purchase multiples in different colors, or sometimes they purchase multiples of a single item telling themselves they don’t want to run out.  These individuals don’t get the “shopper’s high” that other shopaholics receive.  Instead, they are responding to the internal pressure of an impulse to shop to feel some relief of its pressure.  These individuals sometimes respond to antidepressants but cognitive/behavioral treatments such as hypnosis have been shown to be highly effective for some.  

For more information on Dr. Jim's self-help audios with free samples, log onto  For more information on Dr. Jim, and to obtain free audio affirmations, log onto his website at LAtherapist.comYou can check out his page on Facebook at Healing a Broken Heart. 


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