Up to 6% of the population suffers from shopping compulsion or addiction.
When you consider a new purchase, you're anticipating a reward. Once the purchase is made, the reward pathway of your brain lights up, and dopamine floods your system. Once it wears off, you crave it again. That is why it makes sense that we shop for celebrating and for feeling good.
A compulsion is an overwhelming desire to do something. An addiction is a physical or chemical dependence on a substance or behaviour.
Two key differences between compulsion and addiction:
Pleasure. Compulsive behaviours rarely result in feelings of pleasure. People with addictions desire the substance or behaviour because they expect to enjoy it.
Awareness: People with compulsive disorders are typically aware of their behaviours and bothered by the lack of logical reason for doing them. People with addictions are unaware of or unconcerned about the negative consequences of their actions.
Like many people, I've suffered from compulsive spending. A shopping addiction is a scary, dangerous thing. Here are some strategies I've developed to deal with my own shopping addiction -- strategies that may help you, as well.
People do not even know that they are addicted to shopping and are unable to understand the problem.
Their confused relationship with money is looked upon by them as a symptom of the other problems of their lives. Many victims feel lost and are unable to control themselves out of the addiction consciously.
Nir's Note: This guest post is by Dr. Marc Lewis, who studies the psychology and neuroscience of addiction. After years of active research, Marc now talks, writes, and blogs about the science and experience of addiction and how people outgrow it. Visit his website here. You've just obliterated the last seven or eight zombies.
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