Every day more and more I'm beginning to think I have a legitimate shopping addiction. I don't say this because I LOVE to go shopping or be at the mall. The opposite is more true. I don't enjoy being out at a store or on shopping trips (my girlfriend can certainly confirm that), but there is just this "feeling" I can't describe when I have the urge to get something. My weakness seems to be around anything tech related (music, e-books, video games, tablets, etc.). How the cycle normally happens is this. An item will be released, take a video game for example because that is my current anxiety right now, (and yes I do play them, but I am a 25 year old adult living on my own with a solid job at a major company in pittsburgh) and I'll start reading articles about it adn reviews from experts about it. Typically about a day will pass and I'll feel fine and leave it at that. Then for some reason I keep finding myself drawn to read more about it and watch online reviews of the product (again this doesn't have to be big, it can even be a $0.99 song), until I actually get anxious about the fact that I NEED to own it. So I'll drive out of the way and get the item. Now I normally wouldn't say going out and buying something is a problem, but in the past few months I've been finding myself having to lie about it and the anxiety when the process "starts" to get more intense the longer I go without purchasing something. Recently I've lied to my girlfriend saying "oh I got this from craigslist by trading (insert something) here for it. It didn't cost anything" when in fact it was a lie. Also I'll find myself buying big ticket items (over $100) then use them for maybe a month or two, say "I really didn't need this, let me sell it and try to make some money back", in an order to try to fight this problem then within a month or two going out and buying the exact same item again. I can't tell you how many Xboxes, PS3s, Kindles, Nooks, etc. I've been through. I just don't know what I can do to help get off this cycle and get rid of the anxiety problem when I start to "want" something. I mean I have about $3k in credit card debt (luckily it isn't higher yet), but I really want to try to bring that down as fast as possible and DO NOT want it to get any higher. Does anybody have any suggestions on what I can do to help get rid of this need to just buy stuff that I don't need.
Therapy is your best option. Shopping addiction is an addiction as much as drugs and alcohol are an addiction. The desire for just one more and the lie of I can stop when I want are all tell tale signs this has spun out of your control. Therapy can help you find balance again, help you identify what spurs the urges to buy and how to balance the urges to spend. Look for therapists that specialize in shopping or spending addiction. While your insurance should pay for at least a portion of the therapy, this money will be money well spent.