Shopping Addiction: Causes and Treatment
The psychology of consumption, which connects the happiness of a person to buying a new piece of clothing, tasting new foods in a fashionable restaurant, enjoying “All inclusive” resort vacations, or in buying a huge TV or the latest iPhone can be manifested in such phenomenon as oniomania.
Oniomania, also known as a shopping addiction, is associated with compulsive shopping for goods and products a person actually does not need. We all go shopping to buy things and foods because we have certain needs to be satisfied. As long as the purchases are rational, the spending is considered normal and essential. However, if most of the acquired items are completely worthless or you don’t know how to use them, you may suffer from compulsive spending or a shopping addiction.
The causes of compulsive shopping
There are 2 factors that can cause a person to resort to compulsive spending: internal and external.
- The internal factor is based on the psychological problems of the individual. We all know that shopping is a good, but very temporary, antidepressant. Buying stimulates the production of serotonin (responsible for a sense of joy) and adrenaline (a surge of emotions). Constant stress at work, in the family, low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence – all these internal problems can overflow. Shopping is a good opportunity to relax and cheer yourself up. Enthusiastic remarks of a shop assistant about a new purchase significantly increase self-esteem. This can create an illusion of power because you have the power to buy this thing right now. Purchases give a brief sense of freedom and control over your life. When a person practices shopping as an antidepressant on a regular basis, that person turns into a shopaholic, a customer with serious shopping disorder.
- The external factor is associated with marketing tricks used by brands and stores to attract customers. All kinds of discounts and sales, beautiful showcases, and alluring window dummies spark the desire for compulsive buying. They can turn a common passer-by into a potential customer. It can be very difficult to pass by a sign in a shop window that screams “Only today 70% clearance sale.” If only you start thinking of a product that tomorrow will cost significantly more, you are caught! There is an immediate impulse to make a purchase, which is, in fact, compulsive shopping for things you do not need.
What are the symptoms of the shopping addiction?
Not a single addiction starts immediately, it takes some time for a repeated action to grow into a usual practice. There is a list of premonitory symptoms of oniomania:
- Systematic aimless shopping with no need to buy;
- Considering a lot of goods;
- An irresistible desire to buy without any objective reason for this;
- Apathy, irritability when you are deprived of the opportunity to go shopping;
- Visiting shops that have nothing to do with your lifestyle and your hobbies;
- Most purchases are not approved by your relatives and friends.
Be careful if you have some of these symptoms; it may be time to think of getting help for your shopping addiction.
Shopping Addiction Treatment
Seeking treatment may not be easy. It demands time but what is more important willpower. An oniomania cure should include the following steps:
The confessions of a shopaholic are the first step for recovery. It is necessary to agree to an existing problem. As long as you persuade yourself that all your purchases are necessary, it will be hard to fight the shopping addiction.
Before shopping, you need to make a list of necessary purchases. Stick to it and try not to go to those shop departments where there are no items from the list.
Pay with cash, so do not take much cash with you. A shopping addict is not recommended to take credit cards for the risk of uncontrolled compulsive buying.
When there is a strong desire to buy something, think about why you need this thing for. If you are not sure it is necessary, postpone your purchase for another day. It will give you extra time for thinking and protect you from guilt shopping.
Shopping is not the only antidepressant. There are also sweets, chocolate, trips, theater, cinema, friend parties, etc. Try to spruce up your life with other activities, find a new hobby. Try to find hobbies that are not expensive or are free. It will help minimize your shopping disorder and keep every visit to a shop under control. Interesting experiences can raise your self-esteem and at the same time significantly reduce the time and money spent on aimless shopping trips.
Start attending shopping addiction support groups. There you will meet people with similar problems who can share their experience of how they succeeded in fighting temptations. You will listen to the confessions of a shopaholic and see that many people regardless of their sex, financial and social status seek shopping addiction treatment. Together, under the supervision of a trained specialist, you will be able to recover from guilt shopping, to turn into a more aware consumer who is free from shopping addiction.
Of course, it is impossible to completely stop shopping and there is no need to do that. You just need to remember that it is you and not your mindless desires that is in charge of your life. Keep in mind that the joy from buying fades quickly, while guilt shopping brings nothing more than frustration. Save money, time, and effort by freeing yourself from the addiction of consumption.