Fall is the time to swap shorts for jeans and layer on plenty of cozy cardigans. The change in season inspires many of us to hit the mall or the Internet for fresh looks — it can be fun and exciting to spend a little on yourself, after all. But for the 25 million Americans with a shopping addiction, pulling out that credit card is a serious addiction that damages both bank accounts and personal relationships.
Think you or someone you know might be a serious shopaholic? Though women tend to be more affected than men, people of all genders, races and socioeconomic backgrounds can suffer from this addiction. If you think you or your friend might have a problem, be sure to seek both emotional and financial counseling ASAP — Debtors Anonymous is one useful resource.
Here are the signs that retail therapy has gone too far:
You often shop to make yourself feel better when you’re stressed. People with a shopping addiction shop for the “rush” rather than practicality, the Indiana University Department of Health explains.
You lose track of time and money when shopping.
You buy things you don’t need or even want. Many people with a shopping addiction have racks of unworn clothes with the tags still on them in their closets.
You prefer to shop alone to avoid feeling embarrassed or distracted. Online compulsive shopping could be another way to deal with embarrassment, the Yale Medical Group says.
You hide what you buy from friends and family.