Spending Addiction is often seen as the ‘secret’ addiction that affects thousands of people but, unlike other addictions, it receives much less attention in the public eye. There are a number of reasons for this. Some are due to organisations having a vested interest in this not being addressed. In the main however, it is because spending is seen as a normal part of everyday life whereas for example, taking drugs or drinking alcohol regularly to excess, is not.
As a result, many people find themselves living out a secret hell because they cannot stop and they feel they cannot get help. They will build up debts in all sorts of places, they will experience the ‘high’ of the purchase and the ‘low’ or realizing what they have done. As debts rise, the spending addict will try to keep their problems hidden. In doing so they will often be economic with the truth with partners and loved ones. Bills may not get paid, final demands are hidden away. The person may become secretive or avoidant and seek to control post and other external communications. All the time they are burning up huge amounts of emotional energy to maintain the ‘secret’. This leads to anxiety, depression and, in some instances, suicide, because the person feels they cannot go on.
The results can be devasting both for the individual and their partners and dependants. Debts can build up, relationships can end. There can be a knock on effect in employment, housing and credit. The addict will feel guilt and shame and their partners will feel betrayed. The effect on mental health for all concerned can be extremely negative.
Spending Addiction doesn’t always mean there are material goods to evidence it. In some instances this is so but equally, if you find that you are going to the local shop to buy a loaf of bread but are leaving with a shopping bag full you may have a problem. Multiply this a few times a week and it adds up. And because this is seen as just ‘shopping’ it often goes undetected by others. But not by you.
Online shopping or auction shopping can be just as financially detrimental as online gambling if a habit gets out of control. Shopping addicts have a tendency to purchase things they don’t really need and can’t really afford but they do so in order to experience the temporary high of placing a winning bid or owning something new.
Spending Addiction is on the rise, with constant pressure in advertising, the internet and social media.