We live in a modern world where people know money’s worth and everyone around you is running throughout the day in order to make life a little better. With responsibilities comes to stress and how we manage that along with all other responsibilities is very important. How do you calm yourself when you are angry or feeling depressed? Some people like to catch up with friends, some choose music therapy and some choose shopping as their therapy. The sad part is, this kind of shopping addiction in order to satisfy some other need leads to a compulsive shopping disorder. This is medically termed as Oniomania as socially, a person going through this is known as a ‘shopaholic’.
In today’s world where digital media rules over people’s lives we are enchanted by advertisements wherever we go. The problem is most of these advertisements tries to convince us that buying can make us happier. On one side, our political leaders encourage us to shop so that there is a growth in the economy. On the other side as humans, we always look out for things that are owned by people around us and find those better than whatever we own.
Shopping addiction is actually a behavior issue which includes shopping as a way of escape from negative feelings, depression, anxiety and more. This addiction is like any other addiction and the only difference is there is no treatment in medical science that can cure a shopaholic. The problem mainly starts during early-adult hood and later invites several other disorders along with it. These include anxiety, mood disorders, substance use, eating problems, and other disorders related to impulse control.
Some Quick Facts
Some people start developing shopping addiction because they feel shopping enhances their self-esteem and boosts their confidence. However, these are temporary aspects and shopping can never be a solution to these. Here are some quick facts about this socially acceptable problem of being a shopaholic.
- Sadly, the term ‘consumerism’ has been abused when it comes to shopping addiction. However, this problem persisted for a much longer time, even before the term ‘consumerism’ was coined. It is known that shopping addiction was recognized even in the early 19th century and was later reported as a psychiatric problem in the early 20th
- It is true as per reports that shopping addiction has been recognized a long time ago. However, it is still a very controversial topic. The question of whether shopping addiction can fall into the list of real addictions is yet to be solved unanimously.
- Shopping addiction has nothing to do with you being rich or poor. A person who is struggling with this problem will buy things even if he has no money for other, more important things. This eventually leads to more emotional problems and financial too. Therefore, what is applied as a therapy turns to be a cause of many other problems.
- Shopping addiction is a combination of compulsive as well as impulsive spending. Such people feel an emotional high only for a short period of time. Most of the time you will notice that they shortly become dissatisfied with their purchase and tend to shop for newer things.
- The similarity it has with other addictions is that people struggling through this actually choose this as a path to escape from certain problems and pain in life most of the time.
Shopping Addiction Vs. Normal Shopping
There is a huge difference between occasional splurging, normal shopping and becoming a shopaholic. Just like any other addiction, the major point of difference between normal shopping and shopping addiction is that the person struggling with the later develops several behavioral disorders. This reaches such as excessive level that a person cannot find any other way other than shopping to deal with even minor stress. They continue to shop beyond a point where they already know the negative effects of this disorder and they still cannot stop. This may have negative effects on their finances as well as relationships and yet they fail to control it.
While normal shoppers may purchase things because they need them or maybe splurge a little here and there, the shopaholics are much different. It turns out that a person going through shopping addiction becomes very materialistic and feels they can reach a certain social high through shopping. Shopaholics are more susceptible to marketing and advertisement. The main motive of the advertisement is to provide information about products. There are, however, some advertisement which encourages impulsive shopping. People who enjoy excessive shopping and thus develop disorders use a happy term for their activity and call it ‘retail therapy’.
How to Overcome Shopping Addiction?
The first thing that you need to realize is what does not work for you. Shopping addiction is not at all an intellect disease rather it is an emotional disease. The problem with family as well as therapy is that they distract a person already battling a disorder with logic and shame. This can make things worse. The reason is that such logics and shame treatment do not work at all and instead make a person go through more emotional stress that leads to more shopping. Here are a few ways that can help one deal with a shopping addiction.
Identifying the Problem
Observe yourself and understand what the root of the problem is. You have to identify the cause that led to your shopping addiction. You can keep track of your own feelings in a journal that can help you to identify the problem better.
Like we have discussed earlier, that people usually shop to come out of boredom, loneliness, and other emotional problems. You need to come with healthier alternatives that can replace shopping and yet resolve your problems.
Try to avoid places and habits that provoke you to shop. Try not to visit places like supermarkets, shopping malls or fairs to keep away from that rush. It is better that you also stay away from specific TV shows, commercials, magazines and more to control yourself.
Here we know how major a problem is shopping. The next time you feel the urge to shop, first make sure that it is for something you actually require and not buy something just because you are bored with your daily routine.