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Hypnotherapy for Shopping Addiction

All addictions are serious, with some producing physical symptoms while others tax the mind. Among these, shopping addiction is one which generates more emotional responses rather than physical ones.

To understand it a little better consider this- do you ever find yourself spending more than you can afford? Or perhaps get things that you will never use or wear? Maybe you turn to shopping whenever you are angry or feel depressed? Or, find the shopping experience exhilarating as if you’ve done something dangerous or wild?

If you answer yes to any of the above, you may knowingly or unknowingly be a shopping addict or a shopaholic. In fact, there are even categories of shopaholics with most people fitting into one type or the other. For instance:

  • Compulsive shopaholics shop when they feel distressed

  • Trophy shopaholics are always on the lookout for the perfect item

  • Bargain seekers shop because an item is on sale and not because they need it

  • Bulimic shoppers get easily caught up in a vicious cycle of buying and returning

  • Collectors are people who feel incomplete unless they possess every single item in each color or every piece of a set

  • And shopaholics like to be considered big spenders who love flashy items

So you can see that no matter what type of shopping addiction you have, there will be consequences when your spending habits get out of control.

For most people, this could mean facing financial problems, becoming overwhelmed with debt or maxing out their credit cards. For others, the same can turn into personal conflicts with family members, ruin relationships or simply distance away from loved ones.

Why do you shop excessively?

Have you ever tried answering the big question of why you need to shop so much?

Most likely not.

This is because like other addicts, shopping addicts will also try to hide their addiction.

You may have done this by hiding credit card bills, receipts, or the shopping bags themselves. Or if you haven’t, then you may have tried lying about how much money you actually spent. The point here is that shopaholics may try to hide the entire shopping expedition and if this is not possible, then they may try to conceal one aspect of it such as the expenses incurred.

Coming back to why you shop so much, here’s what the experts propose. According to Ruth Engs, a professor at Indiana University who has done extensive research on addictive behaviors, shopaholics develop addictions because of how their brains feel when shopping.

For instance, the brain releases dopamine and endorphins which put you in a happy mood and you start to associate this positivity with your shopping experiences. Over time, these feelings become addictive and you don’t know when to stop anymore.

Having said that, it is important to acknowledge that going on a shopping spree once in a while doesn’t make you a shopping addict.

An occasional yet successful shopping trip will no doubt leave you feeling positive. After all, everyone loves to shop and discovering those great finds can be pretty uplifting.

But when your feelings of happiness after such trips start to get mixed with those of anxiety or guilt where you are propelled to return to the store for even more shopping just to cover up those initial feelings, this is a warning sign.

An extensive study conducted by the University of Bergen has developed a new method to measure shopping addiction. Known as the Bergen Shopping Addiction Scale, this system links people who think about money all the time, people who buy so much that it affects their daily obligations and others who feel bad when prevented from shopping to shopping addiction.

The same method also finds shopping addiction more prevalent in people with anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.

How Can Hypnotherapy Help?

Hypnotherapy has been used successfully for treating various other addictions and can do the same for shopping addiction.

The therapy works by reaching into your subconscious mind changing your beliefs, personality traits, and thinking patterns. This works to change your attitude and outlook towards the addiction. In the case of shopping, you learn how to rethink shopping and regulate emotions evoked by it.

When shopaholics seek other treatments for their overspending habits, there are often withdrawal symptoms associated with the process. Hypnotherapy may actually minimize these symptoms as it puts you in control of changing your thoughts from within.

In the long-term scenario, hypnotherapy can shift your views about shopping as you learn to become better at budgeting your money and controlling your finances.

If you have decided it's finally time to take control back over your shopping addition and spending, Jake Y. Rubin, M.A. at Westside Hypnotherapy can help. Contact us today or click below to schedule an appointment or a complimentary consultation. 

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