When people think of addiction, they most often picture it in terms of substance abuse, but there are many different forms addiction can take beyond this. Technology, despite all its revolutionary advancements to society, also has a dark side and though people often joke about being addicted to their smartphone, it may not be so far from the truth. Constant and compulsive use of these devices can be a very real addiction according to doctors. One of the forms of technology addiction is online shopping.
Symptoms of Online Shopping Addiction
There’s a fine line between someone who just likes to shop online and someone who has a real issue. People with online shopping addictions will demonstrate symptoms that come eerily close to someone with a substance abuse problems.
Spending Beyond What One Can Afford
Just as with many other addictions, an online shopping addict will spend more money satisfying their need than they can actually afford. They prioritize buying countless unnecessary items online in favor of saving their money or paying their bills. In all likelihood they will wrack up debt on credit cards since this is the primary means of purchasing online.
Lying About Time & Money Spent Online Shopping
Addicts are often dishonest about how they spend time and money, and an online shopping addiction is no different. They may lie about how much they spent on an item or even deny purchasing it at all, if probed. Lying to others or themselves about how much they’re spending is a form of denial and a major distinction between someone who merely enjoys making purchases online and someone who has a compulsive need.
Feeling Empty/Irritable When Not Shopping
Much like those with substance abuse issues, online shopping addicts feel empty without getting their fix or may seem irritable if they aren’t online shopping. Online shopping addicts are even at risk of developing mental health issues like depression and may suffer from low self esteem.
Neglecting Relationships & Social Activities
As with many other addictions, online shopping addicts start neglecting relationships and withdrawing from social activities that used to be important to them. Instead of spending time with their family or friends, they’ll turn to the device that allows them to shop. Deteriorating relationships are one of the big signs that something is going wrong in the life of addict.
Anxiety When Access Isn’t Available
An online shopping addict may display anxiety when they don’t have access to either a computer or mobile device with internet. This anxiety is a form of withdrawal similar to that of drug addicts. The only thing that can calm the anxiety in the moment is getting access to online shopping.
Getting Professional Help
Overcoming an addiction can be tremendously difficult and, more often than not requires seeking professional help. While an online shopping addiction doesn’t pose as much of a physical health threat to the addict, it can lead to debilitating mental state or put someone in financial ruins. As with all addiction, admitting there is a problem is the first step that the addict needs to take. After making the admission, the addict can begin looking for solutions and effective addiction treatment methods. It will likely be a struggle and the addict may even relapse, but with enough support, patience, and effort online shopping addictions can be beaten.