Belfast Telegraph

I’m addicted to shopping online

Northern Ireland's number one agony aunt Fiona answers your problems

Dear Fiona I’m a 37-year-old account executive and every day after work I go online and purchase stuff.

It started out with just a few inexpensive items but now I’m buying expensive electrical gadgets I don’t know how or want to use, designer clothes I hate, and the worst of all, a five-star holiday I know I can’t get the time off work to take.

Should I be worried that I’m a nut job or will it pass?

Anxious Shopper

Dear Anxious Shopper,

Behavioural addictions such as compulsive shopping are just as harmful as drug or alcohol addictions.

Addictive shoppers buy things for the euphoric high and not because of the object they’ve bought.

Like drug addicts, they get an incredible rush of the neurotransmitter dopamine but what goes up, must come crashing down.

Once the thrill wears off, this individual will typically go into a deep depression and resort to buying again to lift their mood.

It’s a vicious cycle which results in serious debt so I do think you should be extremely concerned.

Significant trauma, most commonly suffered in childhood, fuels addictions and they’re an attempt to resolve or soothe the anxiety resulting from this trauma.

You’re not a nut job, you’re just someone who’s trying to comfort themselves through this behaviour.

Please speak to an addictions counsellor to uncover what exactly is driving this addiction before it escalates even further.

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