In the modern world, shopping plays on a lot of the same dopamine-loving parts of our brain that other addictions do. To prevent impulse buying, it might help to adopt some addiction-avoiding habits.
Photo by Roberto Verzo
As personal finance blog L Bee and the Money Tree explains, shopping addiction can be just as debilitating as an addiction to alcohol or cigarettes. Playing on the reward centre of our brains, shopping can feel like it's not something we do when we need it, but because we need to do it. It may not be as physically debilitating as other addictions, but the tactics to fight both can be shared. For example, avoiding sources of temptation:
Alcoholics don't hang out in bars. Those with shopping problems shouldn't hang out in stores or malls, "just to kill time," or "pass an afternoon." I may indulge in a little "mindless" shopping every now and again, mostly on vacation, but I rarely go to any store without having thought about what I need to buy first. I go in, I get out, and get on with my life.
Of course, this isn't to belittle the plight of an addict. In fact, quite the opposite. Those who have struggled with serious addictions can teach us plenty about how to overcome bad habits and develop self-control. If you find that your bank account is drained every pay and you're surrounded by stuff you don't need, the first step is admitting you have a problem. Then, ask for help.