Addiction Series: Shopping Addiction

By: Samantha Boatman Email
By: Samantha Boatman Email


The addiction series continues on KOLO 8 News Now. Experts say "shopoholism" affects many people and can destroy relationships, drain your savings and get you in trouble with the law.

Every day, thousands of Americans swipe their credit cards, write a check, or buy something with cash.

Shopping can be social, it can be fun. Sometimes the fun turns into a compulsive desire to shop, most often times called "shopoholism."

"The analogy is like being a heroin addict because you feel euphoric when you buy the item, whatever it is, which is empty of course," says Addiction Therapist Michele Happe.

Happe says shopping addicts are caught in a cycle of anxiety, excitement-filled highs and guilt-ridden lows.

She says the release of endorphins is what's addicting-the happy feeling you get when they buy something.

"You bring the stuff home, and you're like why did I buy this," says Happe.

"Barbara" who doesn't want her real identity revealed, is a recovering alcoholic. She says all addicts try to find something to feel the emptyness felt inside.

"I think all addictions cover up some degree of pain and when you're involved in the addiction obviously your numb," says Barbara.

Michele says it really takes an addict hitting rock bottom for them to admit there's a problem.

For shopoholics, that rock bottom could be draining the bank account or getting arrested for writing bad checks.

"What you're looking at with anytime of addiction is attachment, when you become mindful of what it is you're attached to like a shopping addict, you're attached to your own endorphins," says Happe.

Michele believes there is no "cure" for an addiction, shopping included.

She says it takes patience, determination and love for oneself and sometimes some help from others to get past the addiction, in this case, euphoria.

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