A recent research shows that hundreds of thousands of Norwegians are addicted to shopping. Cecilie Schou Andreassen , affiliated with the Institute of Social Psychology at the University of Bergen and Bergen Clinics, announced the first Norwegian listings of shopping addiction on Monday, according to Aftenposten.
” It is difficult to say exactly how many Norwegians are affected. Some research shows that between one to six percent of the adult population may be shopping addicts. Other studies show higher estimates, between 12 and 22 percent among adolescents and young adults” , says Schou Andreassen . That means hundreds of thousands of Norwegians suffer from problematic shopping behavior.
What causes shopaholism?
It is not known yet what exactly causes the addiction, like alcoholic, drug abuse, nicotine dependence and shopaholic. But here are some clues. ” A number of studies show that shopping addiction is associated with stress and discomfort, heavy debt burdens , financial and legal problems as well as conflicts in relationships and family life,” says Cecilie Schou Andreassen. Pressure comes not only from inside but also from the outside world. The commercials running into people’s everyday life are sending out the brainwashing message that shopping can make life better, while it is not necessarily true. The shopping often starts with giving a kind of happiness , comfort and satisfaction , an act to dampen anxiety, but over time develops into creating dependency , unhappiness and a vicious circle.
When should the alarm go?
Many women and some men are curious about the line between a shopping spree and shopaholic to do a self-diagnose.
Typical for shopping addicts is that shopping repeats itself and becomes a regular behavior. Many shopaholics shop alone, and some lie about or hide purchases. Just like alcoholics hide their bottles, shopaholics don’t want their family member or close partner know the new purchases and start criticizing or arguing. It doesn’t mean that there is no sense of guilty. On the contrary, some people feel so guilty that they give back the goods, yet next time they still can’t help buying new stuff. The shopping behavior has been reinforced from former experience and gains the power to repeat itself. Women often prefer products like clothes, shoes, makeup and jewelry, while men typically buy electronics and sporting goods. Many people have multiple credit cards, and extends credit line maximum.
“We often get the question around the holidays that because a person spent more money than she intended, does this make her an addict? The answer is no. However, if there is a pattern or a trend or consequences that occur with excessive shopping then the person may be a problematic spender — the hallmark is still loss of control. If they are no longer in control of their shopping but their shopping is in control of them, they’ve crossed the line,” says Rick Zehr, vice president of addiction and behavioral services at Proctor Hospital at the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery to WebMD.