Shopping Addiction: When Shopping For New Clothes After Weight Loss Surgery Is More Than Buying For Your New Size
Many patients are thrilled to be able to shop for new, smaller sized outfits. It is one of the great benefits of bariatric surgery: Your health improves by regulating diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol and you are left with more energy and a slimmer body. What bariatric surgery does not do, however, is resolve any psychological issues that you may have been struggling with. This is why we have a comprehensive, patient-centered support system at Griffin Hospital. Our support groups are here to help you through some difficult times that you may be experiencing.
For some patients, food was an addiction. Studies show that the same chemicals are stimulated in alcohol, drug and food addiction. Thought leaders also think that compulsive buying episodes and some of the same underlying causes can trigger shopping addiction. Bariatric surgery abruptly stops a person from overeating, it does not cure the underlying causes of food addiction. Some patients can experience addiction transfer after bariatric surgery. The addiction can take on a new form, such as alcoholism or drug addiction. We tend to not think of shopping as an addiction, but it, too, can have devastating consequences.
Compulsive buying can destroy families both emotionally and financially. Shopaholics often lie about their spending and then face guilt and shame about the habit. It’s the tendency to shop and buy so much or even think about shopping so much that it is leading to severe negative consequences. People of all levels of income and wealth can be affected. However, the dollars and cents have little to do with the emotions that go into compulsive spending.
Getting a shopping “high”
It may start harmlessly enough; It is fun to shop after having lost weight. Clothes are a big part of feeling better about your body. We encourage our patients to “dress your size”, which is why we have opened The Clothes Closet, a free boutique full of beautiful clothing for our bariatric patients at Griffin Hospital. But shopping can give you a little high, that little boost that makes the emptiness go away. Like other addictions, shopping can be something that one habituates to and we have to buy more and more in order to get the same kind of fix. Some patients can come from taking care of one addiction (like sugar addiction with a Gastric Bypass) and then another addiction (such as shopping) can rear its head. You may want to ask yourself: Why am I buying? Sometimes, there is an emotional gap. The stuff that is bought is replacing how a person wants to feel. The key is to address the underlying issues, so a person does not go from addiction to addiction.
There is help. Our monthly support group addresses issues such as addiction transfer and can help you identify warning signs of addiction. Further, Kim Fisher, Bariatric Care Specialist, can recommend bariatric mental health professionals that understand the struggles that bariatric patients can face. If you prefer a 12 step program, debtors anonymous can be very helpful, with meeting held nationwide.
To find out more about bariatric surgery, our extensive pre- and post-operative education program and our support services, please attend a free seminar. Wherever you bariatric journey takes you, we will be there to empower healthier living.
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