Does My Teen Have a Shopping Addiction?

Our daily lives are bombarded with advertisements—whether we are online, watching TV, listening to the radio, reading a magazine or even just sitting on the bus, we are being told endlessly what we should want or even need to buy. As a result, shopping is a significant part of our culture and a favorite pastime for many. But when does it become too much? When does shopping become an addiction? Here are some signs to look out for if you suspect your teen has a shopping addiction.

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What is a Shopping Addiction?

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Shopping becomes an addiction when it’s inappropriate, excessive, out of control and even possibly used as a coping mechanism. It often leads to crippling debt and owning excessive and superfluous things.

What are the Symptoms?

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Common signs include purchasing things you did not normally intend, stress sparking a shopping spree, feelings of guilt after making a purchase, keeping shopping habits hidden and spending beyond your means.

Why do People Develop Shopping Addictions?

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In order to recognize a shopping addiction, it’s helpful to look at other underlying issues. Just like all addictions, it’s not always clear why they are developed. That being said, it’s not uncommon for this addiction to coexist with a mental health condition such as anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder. In other words, the shopping addiction might be a coping mechanism, symptom or expression of another condition.

Now What?

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If you suspect your teen has a shopping addiction, it’s important to support them in getting professional mental health assistance. Addressing a shopping addiction when a teen is young is likely to curb future financial issues as well as the likelihood of them turning to shopping to ease stress.

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