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Shopaholism or shopping addiction. Reasons, symptoms and treatment

Shopaholism or shopping addiction. Reasons, symptoms and treatment

Shopaholism – is one of the problems of the modern society, spread in the last ten years. Many people enjoy shopping, but when shopping becomes a fixed idea, overshadowing the other interests, we can talk about psychical dependence. Shopaholism manifests itself by irresistible craving for purchasing more and more goods and as often as possible. Impossibility to buy makes the person feel discomfort and apathy.

Another name of such disorder is called oniomania; it is of Greek origin and denotes “buying insanity”. Although the WHO (World Health Organization) hasn’t officially included shopaholism into the list of mental disorders yet, the problem is admitted by psychotherapeutists and cured with the help of special methods in the West. In our country about 3 percent of population suffers from such dependence; they are mostly the citizens of big cities, and there is no special therapy against such addiction yet. In spite of the widespread opinion, irrepressible desire for buying goods is not only a disease of females; some men can also suffer from it. The shopaholic is not compulsory fixed on buying new clothes or accessories; it can be homeware, antiques, cars or small trinkets.

Reasons of shopaholism

Like a man, suffering from any other dependence, the shopaholic seeks a consolation and tries to escape from problems. Oniomania originates in early childhood, as many psychologists think, when the parents’ presents were taken by the child for a sign of love and care, in case he was short of these feelings. Many shopaholics come from rich and secured families, where material values were placed upon a pedestal. But of course there are some other reasons of becoming an obsessed shopaholic:

  • Shortage of communication and understanding in inner circle;
  • Hide complexes and lack of self-confidence, compensated by possessing new fashionable things;
  • Stress and conditions close to depression, which the addict tries to forget with the help of shopping;
  • Nervousness and susceptibility to hysterics(shopping helps to calm down and feel imaginary power);
  • Liability to public opinion and easy suggestibility. The consumer oriented society of our days easily influences on consciousness of a morally weak person without life goals, making him think of things as the only indicator of happiness and success.

Symptoms of shopaholism

There is a thin border between real shopaholism and innocuous joy of shopping, so the provoking factors can easily make one a shopaholic. Many goods bought in a fit of shopaholism appear to be unnecessary and useless, resulting the feeling of disappointment and nervous exhaustion, including a waste of money. However, the society in whole supports the shopping addiction; there is a special online shopaholics club, which helps people choosing really necessary things. Of course, nobody talks about treatment for shopping addiction in this case.

So, how can we reveal true addiction and not mix it up with innocuous joy of shopping?

  • Visiting shops without any particular reason to buy something;
  • Urging towards examining shop windows and goods presented there;
  • Liking for glossy fashion magazines;
  • Wishing for being well informed of the up-to-date information about sales and fashionable novelties;
  • Buying things without objective reasons;
  • The need to discuss the purchased goods and their advantages with other people;
  • Bad mood and melancholy in the absence of shops and if there is no ability to go shopping;
  • Low interest to things not connected with shopping and goods.

Compulsive shopping is not so innocuous, as it seems from the first sight. Besides the financial aspect, which involves problems with family finances and lots of debts, oniomania estranges the person from his close ones, who in most cases don’t share his addiction. Such dependence comes to curbing of interests and loss of social intercourse. The shopaholic becomes even more lonely and tries to compensate it with shopping, that leads to more estrangement from relatives and close people. This is an endless circle, which makes the shopaholic suffer from depressions, neuroses and mental disorders.

Types of shopping addiction

Shopaholism has its own peculiarities, and depending on the shopaholic’s character, it can assume different forms. There is a conventional subdivision of shopaholics into several types according to their behavior and personal characteristics in psychology:

Spontaneous shopaholic - doesn’t confess his addiction and doesn’t have fixed ideas of buying goods. He goes shopping with a buying list and has a specific aim. But if he finds some goods on sale or campaign products, he will surely purchase plenty of useless things. And this happens every time.

Conscious shopaholic - doesn’t deny his unrestrained addiction for doing shopping, goes shopping aimlessly in order to relax or while away the time.

Aim-oriented shopaholic - is the most difficult kind of shopaholics. He makes purchases unconsciously and can’t even explain what he has spent big amounts of money for.

Shopping addiction can be also true and reasonable. The first variant supposes buying everything and anything without any aim or sense; the second one implies purchasing the useful things but in big amounts, which results in throwing out the part of them.

Shopaholism treatment

The majority of psychological dependences, including shopping addiction, don’t subordinate the human consciousness fully, unlike physical dependences. Therefore cognitive-behavioral therapy helps to solve the problem in most cases. The only condition is that the patient must realize his addiction and want to get rid of it. If needed, the patient is prescribed a course of antidepressants and sedatives, because he has to stand some sort of withdrawal pains, connected with the absence of stimulator – shopping and lots of purchases.

Then the addict ought to analyze the usability and reasonability of his shopping. Afterwards he should get rid of useless things. There is no need to throw them away; it would be much better, if he sells these things or give them to somebody, who needs them.

During the course of treatment and long after it the former shopaholic should go shopping having fixed amount of money and a shopping list. Rules of shopping disciplines the man and don’t let him make rash purchases as before.

Self-persuasion is also an effective method of therapy. Every time before going shopping the person should tell himself aloud behind the mirror, that he has everything he needs, and he can go shopping without buying something, and he will stay in a good mood anyway.

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