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Research shows more and more people are gambling in the UK. With even more accessibility than ever on the internet this means that more and more people can gamble at home, work or on the move. This may partly explain why more and more women are becoming problem gamblers.Another term for gambling addiction is compulsive gambling, this refers to a type of impulse control disorder. Problematic gamblers can range from someone who has some control over their addiction, to someone who is very preoccupied and spending more money each time, chasing losses, even though they may have huge debt – but still believe in the ‘what if’s’.
Shopping addiction is also commonly known as compulsive shopping, it is thought to be more common among women but it is growing among men too. It is thought that like all addictions, shopping is the person’s way of dealing with stress and negative feelings even if the shopping addiction is causing further stress. There still appears to be some disagreement with experts as to whether a shopping addiction is an obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or an impulse control disorder like gambling.
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The addicted shopper can become preoccupied with spending money. The act of shopping is often experienced as pleasurable and is used to escape negative feelings such as depression, anxiety and low self-worth. However, purchases are often put away unused and feelings of disappointment with him/herself can then surface. As a way to cope with these feelings another shopping trip may be planned and thus a cycle of addiction begins.
Reasons why someone becomes addicted is complex but it is common that some addictions are used as a way to cope with stress and escape from mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and PTSD. Being predisposed to addiction either through genetics, through prolonged stress or because of a traumatic incident are also common reasons. This means that when seeking treatment it is not just about working with the addiction but also about addressing what is causing it and finding alternative ways of coping and managing.