When most people hear the term “shopping addicts”, they think of the Valley Girl with Daddy’s credit card. In fact, those in the marketing field don’t even acknowledge it as an addiction. However, the American Psychological Association sees Oniomania (or “Compulsive Shopping”) as a very real and very serious problem.
A shopaholic can experience most, if not all, of the same symptoms than that of a drug addict. While they are spending money they feel, in a sense, a “high” similar to a drug addict. When they are not shopping they go through a form of withdrawal and can not stop thinking about spending more money. It is said that “addictions tend to come in clusters”. So, you may develop a shopping addiction if you suffer from any of the following; an eating disorder, alcoholism or drug addiction.
The person feels out of control, which can affect other people and things in their life.
They tend to shop to “make themselves feel better” when they are angry, depressed or lonely. While they are shopping they feel temporarily released from their everyday problems. They will go to the store or mall only needing one thing and leave with their arms filled with bags. There have been cases of people who actually “black out” and don’t even remember buying the items when they get home.
Some ways to tell whether someone is addicted to shopping include; if they spend unthinkable amounts of money on items that they don’t need or if their closets are filled with items that still have the tags on them and have never been worn. They tend to hide the items that they buy and deny that they have a problem. They also tend to not be excited about what they are buying, but instead on just the act of buying it. Usually the person with this addiction is financially “in the hole” and continue to build up dept and run credit cards to their limit. Some even take on extra jobs just to pay for the overwhelming bills.
There are some people with this addiction who only go on “shopping binges” during the holiday season. They feel depressed or lonely and feel the need to fill this void.
There are some shopaholics who don’t care what they are buying. However, most stick to a specific type of item, such as; shoes, clothes or movies.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing a problem with a shopping addiction it is recommended that they seek help.
There are suggestions to keep yourself from going on “shopping binges”. You can pay with cash. Make a shopping list and only take enough money for what is on the list. It’s best if you cut up credit cards. Allow a certain spending amount for shopping at discount stores and stick to the budget. Some say don’t “window shop”. However if you do, it’s recommended to window shop after the store is closed or leave your wallet at home. Throw out all shopping catalogs and do not watch “At Home” shopping networks. When traveling to a family members for the holidays, get all shopping done and wrapped before you leave (it is said that people feel less guilty about spending more money away from home). When you feel the need to shop, take a walk.
Overcoming the constant need to shop may not be easy, but there is help to be found in your community. Whether you believe it or not, you’re not alone with this problem either. Compulsive shopping is more common than you would think. When recovering from Oniomania, just remember, there’s such a thing as “too much of a good thing.”