Buying gifts for the holidays can be dangerous for people with addictive personalities.
“It’s kind of a rush, especially, sometimes you get caught up if something is a great bargain, you end up spending a little more than you planned on,” said shopper, Melissa Noonan.
Shopping addiction is more common this time of year, especially with people who are lonely or face a high level of stress in their daily lives.
“We see a lot of similarities in terms of the signs and symptoms and how it can be affecting the brain and how it can affect that person’s life,” said Brittany Ott with the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery.
The shopaholic normally feels good about buying gifts for others, which gets them addicted. That could mean spending a large amount of money they don’t have.
“An individual continues to shop and spend excessively, despite the fact that there are financial concerns, family concerns,” Ott said.
The problem shows up more during the holiday season because there’s pressure to shop, some might use the season as an excuse to hit the stores.
“Especially when you get caught up buying stuff for other people, it feels good to give, and I could see how it would end up being a problem,” Noonan said.
“This is something I have to do, this cannot be avoided, the holiday season is here, it’s okay for now,” Ott said.
Not every person who shops a lot is addicted, 13 percent of buyers make impulse decisions. Many say that’s okay.
“A month from now when the bills start coming in, my husband might start thinking differently, but that’s okay, I’ll deal with it then,” said shopper, Jennifer Hitt.
Specialists say it’s important to stick to a budget when shopping.
“The nature of addiction is that justification tends to come as a symptom of the disease,” Ott said.
The Illinois institute for addiction recovery says help is always available for any type of addiction.