Can Shopping Addiction and Drug Abuse Occur Together?
According to Indiana University, “Addictive behaviors tend to come in clusters.” This is because a person who already has an addiction or a behavioral disorder will often experience issues dealing with other activities and substances that are likely to cause a behavioral problem. Therefore, “if you have an eating disorder, a problem with drugs or alcohol, or gambling, you may be a candidate for shopping addiction too.” This means, of course, there is a considerable likelihood that shopping addiction and drug abuse may occur together.
Why Do These Issues Occur Simultaneously?
Shopping addiction (also known as compulsive buying disorder) and substance abuse are likely to occur simultaneously because one often leads to the other. As stated above, it is common for someone who struggles with one of these issues to eventually have problems with the other (or another similar issue).
- According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, mental and other behavioral disorders are likely to lead to drug abuse, “possibly as a means of ‘self-medication.’” A person may use substance abuse to cope with their shopping addiction (especially when they cannot shop), and anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders (which often occur along with compulsive buying disorder) can also lead to drug abuse where the person tries to “temporarily alleviate their symptoms.”
- One behavioral issue can snowball and create further issues. Individuals who abuse drugs may start gambling in order to try and make more money with which to buy substances. They then often become addicted to that behavior as well.
- Buying compulsively can, for those who are addicted to it, cause the same rush that abusing drugs can. When a person gets that feeling often, they may go out looking for anything that causes them to have it again.
These disorders occur simultaneously very often because it is hard to stop addictive and compulsive behaviors from worsening. A person who abuses drugs or shops compulsively will have trouble stopping and may constantly be looking for their next fix.
How Should These Issues Be Treated When They Occur Together?
Much in the same way they manifest in a person’s life, co-occurring shopping addiction and substance abuse must be treated together. This way, a person can make the necessary changes to their life all at once instead of having the possibility of relapse occur because one of these issues slipped through the cracks.
Usually, a person can be treated for both disorders with behavioral therapy, and sometimes, medication may be beneficial too. Compulsive buying disorder can be treated with antidepressants in some cases, while the specific drug they were abusing may require another medication. It is important that all treatments should be able to work together and to all avoid being harmful to another aspect of the individual’s care.
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