Depression shopping is a term that describes a phenomenon where people who are experiencing depression or anxiety turn to shopping as a coping mechanism. While it might seem counterintuitive to turn to shopping when feeling sad or anxious, many people find temporary relief in buying things. In this article, we’ll explore what depression shopping is, the causes of it, and the potential consequences.

Defining Depression Shopping

Depression shopping, also known as retail therapy, is the act of shopping to alleviate symptoms of depression or anxiety. People who depression shop often report that the experience makes them feel better, even if only temporarily. For some, the act of purchasing provides a momentary sense of control in a world that feels out of control.

Why People Turn to Depression Shopping

There are many reasons why people might engage in depression shopping. For some, it’s a distraction from their negative thoughts and feelings. For others, it’s a way to improve their mood or feel a sense of accomplishment. Additionally, people may feel a rush of excitement or pleasure from purchasing something new.

Another reason why people might turn to depression shopping is social pressure. In a culture that emphasizes material possessions and consumerism, it’s easy to feel like you need to keep up with the latest trends or own the newest gadget. This pressure can be especially strong for people who are struggling with depression or anxiety, as they may feel like they need to present a certain image to the world.

The Consequences of Depression Shopping

While depression shopping may provide temporary relief, it’s important to note that it can have serious consequences. First and foremost, depression shopping can quickly become an addiction. Just like any other addictive behavior, it can be difficult to stop once it becomes a habit. This can lead to financial problems, as well as other negative consequences.

Additionally, depression shopping can exacerbate feelings of guilt and shame. People who are struggling with depression or anxiety may already feel like they’re not living up to their own or others’ expectations. When they engage in depression shopping, they may feel even worse about themselves for spending money on things they don’t need.

Coping Strategies for Depression Shopping

If you’re someone who struggles with depression shopping, there are many strategies you can use to cope with your feelings. One effective approach is to find healthier outlets for your emotions. This might include exercise, art, or spending time in nature. These activities can provide a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, without the negative consequences of shopping.

Another approach is to work on changing your thought patterns. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that can help you identify and change negative or unhelpful thought patterns. By learning to challenge negative thoughts and replace them with more positive or realistic ones, you can reduce your reliance on depression shopping.

Finally, it can be helpful to set boundaries for yourself around shopping. This might mean setting a budget or only allowing yourself to purchase things that you truly need. By setting limits, you can still enjoy the benefits of shopping without the negative consequences.


In conclusion, depression shopping is a real and common phenomenon that can have serious consequences. While it’s understandable that people may turn to shopping as a coping mechanism, it’s important to find healthier outlets for our emotions. By understanding the causes and consequences of depression shopping, we can work towards changing our behaviors and finding more effective ways to manage our mental health.


What is Depression Shopping?

Depression Shopping is a form of compulsive buying behaviour that is used as a coping mechanism for individuals dealing with depression. It involves excessive spending on goods and services that are not necessary, and often result in financial problems.

What are the effects of Depression Shopping?

Depression Shopping can lead to a range of negative consequences, including financial instability, feelings of guilt and shame, and increased levels of anxiety and depression. It can also strain relationships with family and friends, and create a cycle of addictive behaviours that are difficult to break.

What can be done to address Depression Shopping?

If you are experiencing Depression Shopping, it is important to seek professional help from a therapist or counselor who can provide you with the necessary support and tools to manage your depression and compulsive buying behaviours. Additionally, implementing healthy coping strategies such as mindfulness, exercise, and self-care can be highly effective in reducing the urge to shop when feeling depressed.


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