Healthy Or Harmful? 5 Signs You May Have An Online Shopping Addiction

February 8, 2021

More people are shopping online than ever before after the outbreak of COVID-19. Almost double the number of Americans bought their groceries on the net in 2020 compared to 2018. There are some clear benefits, including social distancing, saving time and money, and having access to a broader array of products. However, statistics show that around 5-8% of people cross the line from using online shopping as a convenient service to pathological or compulsive buying. How do you know if you have an online shopping addiction? Here are five warning signs:

Buying Things you don’t Need

Do you find yourself compelled to buy cookware sets online even though your cupboards are overflowing with barely-used pots and pans? Have you got a habit of buying a new dress, despite the fact that you have a similar one in the cupboard that is brand new with tags?

Buying more than you can afford, buying more than you require, and buying things you don’t need at all are three red flags for compulsive buying. While many of us indulge in the odd non-essential item, if you are making this a regular habit, you may have a problem with online shopping.

Turning to Online Shopping When You are Stressed or Down

When your emotional well-being is tied to something like online shopping, you may start to find it difficult to enjoy life outside of shopping. You may get anxious at the idea of missing a sale, feel grumpy if you can’t access the online sites you want, and experience guilt once you have made a purchase.

Experts have linked compulsive buying to depression and anxiety, with people turning to online stores to boost their mood. It is not healthy to use shopping as a coping mechanism. Instead, acknowledge the problem and seek assistance from a mental health professional who specializes in these sorts of habits.

Letting Online Shopping Damage your Relationships

Money is one of the most common triggers for tension in relationships. Couples often argue about their spending habits and areas of priority. While a disagreement here or there is standard in any relationship, if you prioritize shopping over a harmonious relationship with your loved ones, it could indicate that you have an addiction. Likewise, if you are regularly giving up time with your loved ones to bid on eBay items, you may need to re-evaluate the role of shopping in your life.

Hiding Things You Buy

Some people who pathologically buy things online will start to feel so guilty or ashamed of their online shopping that they hide their purchases from their friends or family. This habit is a sign of concern. Similarly, if you have a “secret” credit card, this is another sign that you are in dangerous territory.

Not being able to Stop

Does the idea of giving up shopping for a month make you feel stressed or anxious? Psychologists define addiction as a compulsive habit that can be socially, psychologically, or physically harmful. If your shopping is negatively impacting your life in some way but you don’t think you can stop, it may be worth seeking help from a therapist.

An extreme preoccupation with shopping and craving to shop can lead to hoarding, financial difficulties, and relationship break-downs. Don’t let online shopping rule your life. If you are worried that you have an addiction, you can take action immediately by unsubscribing from all shopping-related emails. It may also be wise to cut up your credit cards and block shopping websites from your phone and computer. Alternatively, book in with an expert for some cognitive behavioral therapy.


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