Monday, November 26, 2018
Signs of Online Shopping Addiction, and Possible Solutions
Welcome to Cyber Monday! That beautiful time of year where we all get reminded why Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world. As my newsfeed and inbox get bombarded with sales notices, I start to ponder about the meaning of this beautiful, made up holiday. The whole idea of a day like today makes me cringe, but I do understand the joy that some of you are feeling. It is the same joy some get when hitting an inside straight on the river card. Or others get when they crack their first beer in the morning. Online shopping addiction has become a massive problem. It is reported that there are over 20 million online shopping addicts in America. Today I will show you some signs that you have an online shopping problem and some possible solutions. Like any other addiction, healing can only occur when the problem is addressed.
Shopping has affected your personal relationships
Like any other addiction, often the first people to suffer is our loved ones. Like most other addictions, online shopping consumes its victim. They spend their time hunting deals online instead of with their loved ones. Also, like other addictions, the victim spends their time planning and hiding their problem, which also leads to less time with loved ones. This leaves their families feeling unappreciated and undervalued. Addiction causes people to withdraw from group activities and a shopping addiction is no different.
It has affected your finances
One reason I hate shopping, well the main reason, is because it isn’t cheap. In fact, it is quite expensive. It never really feels like a deal to me. Shopping addiction destroys bank accounts and puts many people into debt. The fact that you don’t even have to get dressed to blow thousands of dollars is mind-boggling. Credit cards and lines of credit get racked up and what is most sad, you are left with no tangible assets. Almost anything you can buy online depreciates the second you buy it. How’s that for a deal. If you find yourself with barely enough to get by, but a full closet, you may have a shopping problem.
It has affected your job
There are several ways an online shopping addiction can affect your employment. People with addictions are often sad or grumpy. This is due to the reality of them knowing they are losing the battle with their problem. At work, mood swings can cause your co-workers and employers to avoid you and it hurts your overall performance. You may also spend spare time at work or even time on the job, shopping. This is a huge no-no and can get you in some serious trouble.
You hide your shopping
Just like hiding the fact that you gamble, or drink, hiding your online shopping is a major sign that you have a problem. Stuffing boxes in closets or crawl spaces, getting deliveries to other addresses, or owning secret credit cards are a couple ways to hide it. We often hide our problems because we are ashamed of our actions and know they are wrong. Online shopping is no different.
You are upset when you can’t shop and are only happy when you can
If you ever have seen the Nicolas Cage movie, “Leaving Las Vegas,” you can see how addict’s mood changes when they partake in their addiction. When drunk, Cage was a charming, funny, jovial fellow. When sober he was sad, angry and unpleasant. If you find that the only time you are happy is when you have shopped online, then this could be you. Conversely, if you find that when you haven’t shopped for a while you are irritable, depressed, or grumpy, then this is a major issue.
First things first, seek out licensed help when dealing with any addiction. The root of any addiction is mental and a professional would be the best to help you battle this problem. In terms of the financial aspect of it, there are small things you can do to help.
Cut up or cancel your credit cards
The source of funds for your addiction is usually credit and limiting access to it will help you avoid being able to buy online.
Block or unsubscribe from shopping spam
I recently bought a power cable on Amazon for my laptop. It was my first Amazon purchase. Since then I have been getting emails from Amazon about 3 times a day. At the bottom of the email click the unsubscribe button to not get these emails anymore. It is not enough to mark them as spam because you will still get them.
Blacklist their sites
You can restrict your access to your online shopping sites. This will stop you from being able to use them when a cravings hit.
Spend time with friends and family
Addicts are often recluse. A sure-fire cure is to spend more time around those you love. You hide your shopping because you feel guilty. Around those you love, you will quell the urge to do anything harmful to yourself. Make sure you let them in on your problem. You will need a support system to get through this.
Pick up a hobby to replace your addiction
Shopping fills up time. A good healthy hobby can replace that time with something that is more constructive in your life. Working out, volunteering, working extra hours, or joining a group can be very rewarding and prevent you from spending your free time shopping online.
While some rejoice about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I cringe. To me, it is a beacon from the darkest parts of our society. It supports consumerism, promotes debt, and feeds shopping addictions. If you are suffering from this huge problem, please seek out the help that you deserve. You do not have to, and shouldn’t have to struggle alone.
“Addiction isn’t about substance – you aren’t addicted to the substance, you are addicted to the alteration of mood that the substance brings.” – Susan Cheever
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