Shopping addiction is also known as oniomania. This is considered to be an impulse control disorder similar to gambling, food addictions, etc. Shopping addiction is a disease that affects 10 of 100 people.
Shopping can be a pleasant experience, but when things are bought out of control, the person who buys has an addiction. The shopping addict may feel compelled to buy items he doesn’t need or want, just to experience a kind of euphoria that appears when buying things. Despite efforts to stop reckless spending, the shopping addict is not able to change his behavior.
What is shopping addiction?
Some people develop addiction to shopping, as they essentially become addicted to the way they feel when shopping. When shopping, the brain releases endorphins and dopamine, and over time, these feelings become addictive.
Like all addicts, shopping addicts can try to hide the addiction, and if a loved one is addicted to shopping, they can try to hide it. If a person hides credit card bills, shopping bags or receipts, he may be addicted to shopping. In some cases, shopping addicts may try to hide the addiction by lying about an item of it. For example, a person may admit that he went shopping, but may lie about how much money he spent.
In some cases, it can be difficult to know if you, or a loved one has a shopping addiction. Many people love shopping, and many people also spend too much money while shopping. It is important to keep in mind that going shopping from time to time does not mean that you are addicted. However, there are several signs and symptoms that shopping addicts show that you can pay attention to.
Signs of shopping addiction
These are some of the warning signs that may indicate a problem with shopping addiction:
- Compulsive purchase
- The fear of being discovered
- Feeling lost without a credit card, or money
- Hide evidence of purchases
- Do not pay bills to get money and go shopping
- Lying about expenses
- Go shopping alone
- Go shopping when angry, depressed, bored, or alone
- Always thinking about shopping
The causes of shopping addiction
For shopping addicts, the underlying cause of their behavior can be a more complicated problem. Here are some reasons why a person can see purchases as a survival mechanism:
- An attempt to cope with the symptoms of depression
- Management of intense emotions, such as anger
- Lack of impulse control
- Need for acceptance
Consequences of shopping addiction
Compulsive spending can only be prolonged for a certain amount of time before the addict begins to have to deal with the consequences. Some consequences are:
- Feeling ashamed
- Legal actions
- Problems with marriage/relationship breakdown
Help and Treatment for shopping addiction
The treatment for this addiction can have a multiple approach. If the shopping addict is suffering from depression or an obsessive-compulsive disorder, medications may be prescribed as part of the treatment. Seeing a therapist is another part of the treatment for shopping addiction. The goal is to get to the root of addictive behavior and treat it. Cognitive-behavioral counseling can help the addict stop using shopping as a way to deal with other problems in his life.
Recovery and rehabilitation of shopping addiction
The treatment for oniomania also has to deal with the financial consequences of excessive spending. For some people addicted to shopping, getting credit counseling or contacting a 12-step program is recommended. Many shopping addicts tend to end up with a lot of mess in their lives, so exchanging experiences and getting the support of people who understand addiction could work. In cases where the shopping addict is not able to live with a self-imposed prohibition of spending, he may have to hand over his financial affairs to another person to manage them.