Shopping addiction

Shopping addiction

Shopping addiction, also known as onyomania, is a type of behavioral addiction that involves compulsive buying as a way to feel good and avoid negative feelings, such as anxiety and depression. This definition consists of the Greek words “onios” meaning sale and “mania” meaning madness.

In shopping addiction, the pleasure of purchasing is at the forefront rather than the purchased product. 

Common causes

What's common causes of shopping addiction?

Although the causes of shopping addiction vary from person to person, the most common causes are;

  • To relieve negative emotions
  • To suppress feelings of emotional emptiness
  • To feel valuable, competent, and powerful with an impulse triggered by feelings of worthlessness
  • Feeling of competition with other people (the desire to have better quality and more beautiful than everyone else)
  • Fear of missing discount
  • Some psychiatric disorders (depression, bipolar disorder, impulse control disorders, personality disorders, etc.)

How to distinguish a shopping addict from an ordinary lover of shopping – the question is obvious and predictable. Make it easy, because for a dependent person is characterized by manic acts. Researchers at Bergen University have developed a tool to answer this question. The Bergen Shopping Addiction Scale adapts criteria from other addictions. If someone shows 4 out of the 7 behaviors on the scale, they likely have a shopping addiction:

  • Obsessing about shopping all the time
  • Shopping to improve one’s mood
  • Buying more items to feel the same satisfaction as before
  • Buying so much one cannot meet daily responsibilities such as school
  • Buying so much it has affected one’s well-being
  • Being unable to cut back on shopping, even if one wishes to do so
  • Feeling bad if one cannot shop

How to stop?

How to stop a shopping addiction?

Whatever the underlying psychological problem of shopping addiction is, it must first be determined for treatment. To define it, you can first follow your shopping habits. It will also help you understand when you shop the most and how often you actually do it. This may make you see that it is more than you think. As a result, identifying the root cause of the problem will also help you determine what you can do to fix it. It should not be forgotten that consulting an expert is always one of the wisest ways.
Here’s a few tips that can help you overcome a shopping addiction:

🗒️ Track your money
Are you sure you’re aware of how much you’re actually spending? Most people don’t keep track on a day to day basis of their spending. As an idea, you may want to start tracking all your spending. You’ll be able to notice your spending habits and patterns and where you fall short, what you’re spending most of your money on and how you can save. When you are able to visualize your spending patterns, you can act on them.

📝 Set goals
You could also try setting yourself some financial goals. By setting goals, cutting back on spending money will seem easier as you will have a reason to save. The goal here is to create a clear path between saving money and getting to do the things you love as well.

📺 Unsubscribe and unfollow
One of the first steps that you need to take is to unsubscribe from email lists and unfollow social media accounts. One of the biggest reasons why you are prone to purchasing shiny objects on you go shopping is that you have access to them at all times. If you really want to break free from your shopping addiction, you need to unsubscribe from these websites and unfollow them.

💳 Pay cash instead of credit
Consider paying for something using a credit card instead of cash. When you swipe your credit card, it doesn’t necessarily feel like you are spending money because you don’t pay for it immediately. You may not pay your credit card bill until the end of the month. By paying cash, you should feel your money running low

🚵🏻‍♀️ Take up a new hobby
As with any addiction, you need to find a healthier alternative to filling the need. The goal here is not to swap an addiction for something else that can become addictive but rather to trade in a negative and destructive addiction for one that is positive and healthy, or at the very least neutral.

🙋🏽 Ask for help from professionals
Dealing with our bad habits alone can be difficult at times. Getting support from an expert coach makes it easier for us to get to the point we want and causes us to take this goal more seriously.

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  4. Grüsser, SM., Thalemann, C. Albrecht, U. [Excessive compulsive buying or “behavioral addiction”? A case study]. Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2004;116(5-6):201-4.
  5. Andreassen, C. S., Griffiths, M. D., Pallesen, S., Bilder, R. M., Torsheime, T., & Aboujaoude, E. (2015, September 17). The Bergen Shopping Addiction Scale: Reliability and validity of a brief screening test. Frontiers in Psychology.
  6. https://www.happierhuman.com/stop-shopping/ (Date of access: 14.02.2022)
  7. https://blocksite.co/blog/8-tips-to-overcome-a-shopping-addiction/ (Date of access: 14.02.2022)
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