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Is it possible for men to have a shopping addiction? Although the stereotype is that only women love to shop, the fact is that like any other addiction such as drugs, alcoholism and gambling, shopping addiction can affect men as well as women. There is a stigma that surrounds shopping for men, therefore fewer men come forward to admit it as a problem and to seek treatment. Because it doesn’t seem like a ‘manly’ thing to do, men appear to feel more shame around this type of addiction.
There are an estimated 30 million Americans with a compulsive shopping problem and 50% of those are men. As society becomes more and more consumer oriented, the compulsive shopping trend has overlapped between men and women.
What is a Shopping Addiction?
An occasional splurge is common among most people, and does not necessarily indicate a shopping addiction. When the urge to splurge, and to shop in general becomes more frequent and the existence of a shopping addiction needs to be considered. If the individual’s desire to shop and buy takes them away from spending time with their family and enjoying other activities, then the behavior is considered interfering and may be clinically diagnosable.
Easy access to the internet and TV has made it really easy for men to shop, rather than going to the traditional stores.
Men and Shopping Addiction
As a generalization, women may enjoy shopping more than men do. However, this does not make them compulsive shoppers. It is also likely that men and women shop for different types of items. Men may look for “toys” to go with their hobbies – like the latest golf clubs and accessories or gear for their car – and other large ticket items while women may shop for less expensive items. The end result is the same. Buying more than one can afford and experiencing stress when unable to purchase something could mean that the individual is a compulsive shopper.
In a phone survey of 2,500 adults, researchers determined each individual’s level of compulsive buying, and this is what they found in relation to men:
5.8 percent of people are compulsive buyers
5.5 percent of men are compulsive buyers
A higher percentage of younger people are compulsive buyers than older people
Male compulsive buyers tend to buy CDs, books, tools, gadgets, computer stuff and cameras
Male compulsive shoppers are more likely to become addicted to auctions than female compulsive shoppers
Reasons behind Shopping Addiction
Most individuals who are compulsive shoppers do so to relieve the stress they may be feeling. For men in particular, since they are not as good as women in expressing their emotional status, they tend to suffer from greater levels of anxiety and stress. Some of the psychological reasons behind compulsive shopping include:
Emotional deprivation in childhood
Inability to tolerate negative feelings such as pain and loneliness
Needing to fill an inner void
Genuinely impulsive and compulsive
Need to gain control
The fact is that a shopping addiction should be taken just as seriously as any drug addiction. An individual who is a compulsive shopper brings life changing consequences to their life as well as their family.
Blueprints provides support for young adults facing addiction recovery. Call us if you need help for your loved one who is struggling to quit shopping or other addictions. Our staff and programs support individualized programs to help resolve addictive behaviors and get them on the path to recovery and healing.