Shopping Addiction

Lauren Prince

What interests me

I love to shop and I love the feeling I get when I get something really cute or when I get a great deal on something I really want, but I wanted to understand more about how people can get addicted to this and not even care for how much they are spending.
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History and Biology

Shopping addiction began around the more advanced technologies and social media came around giving people a greater want to be more materialistic and to have more. Psychological disorders are typically the driving force that is made worse by genetics. People with a shopping addiction often also affected by mood, anxiety, eating disorders, or substance addiction.
Who becomes a shopping addict?

Why do people become addicted?

  • They believe that their purchases can boost self-esteem and improve appearance, reputation or relationships.
  • They have materialistic values driven by poor credit management.
  • They depend on this behavior to relieve negative feelings that cause distress and discomfort.


There are no standard treatments available for compulsive shoppers. If there is an underlying problem, such as depression, medication will be prescribed to help that condition and hopefully cure the shopping addiction. Treatments also include support groups, therapy, and credit counseling.
The dangers of compulsive shopping


  • 8.9% of Americans have this disorder.
  • Men and women compulsively shop about equally.
  • 17 Million Americans are compulsive shoppers.
  • Arguments over money are the greatest cause of relationship stress and break-ups.
  • The average credit card debt for Americans is close to $10,000- mostly from unnecessary purchases.
  • Compulsive shopping is more than about poor finance; many people need professional psychological help.

Social media fuels this addiction even more:
  • 88% shop online
  • 79% because of convince and the ability to get hard to find items
  • 64% because it is easier to spend
  • 26% because they are bored
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Most of the impacts are social and emotional for compulsive shoppers. After a purchase they may feel remorse and guilt that might even cause them to return the products. Carrying this guilt can lead to interpersonal, occupational, family, and financial problems. However, to relive these bad feeling they will go back to shopping to experience that short period of emotional high they get from making purchases. Another common effect is impaired relationships due to trying to hide spending and the debt they have accumulated. Typically, the debt is only realized after it is large and requires drastic life change in order to resolve.

The Personality

Compulsive shoppers are much more envious and less generous than others. This is surprising because gifts are a common purchase for compulsive shoppers, but rather as an attempt to "buy love" and increase social status rather than an act of generosity. They are uninterested in owning things and less driven to acquire material possessions than others.


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