Shopping addiction is a serious condition that can have a huge impact on the sufferer’s life. Oniomania (to give it its proper name) or shopping addiction is a compulsive behaviour that can be detrimental to the health, personal well-being and lifestyle of the addict. The compulsive shopper, by indulging in their habit, releases a stream of endorphins into the system giving them a “high” that is comparable to opiate addiction. It’s commonly thought that addiction and compulsive behaviours cannot be cured, in the traditional sense. The good news is that it can be treated, and the condition arrested. Those who suffer from a shopping addiction can learn how to deal with their behaviours and manage their compulsions to go on to lead a life free of the addiction and its devastating consequences.
Admitting the problem
The first step in breaking addiction of any type is to actually admit that there is a problem. When your shopping addiction starts affecting other areas of your life, you know you have a problem. If you have become powerless over you need to shop then you should seek help and look at ways to manage your urges and behaviours.
How to stop spending
If you can’t resist picking up things you don’t really need then when doing your grocery shop, then try doing it online. Make a list and stick to it. Create a meal plan for the week and only buy what you really need. By removing the temptations that wandering the aisles of your favourite supermarket brings, you can make a big difference to how much you are spending.
Save and reward yourself
Learn how to save responsibly and when you see something you really want, take some time to think about it, and instead of putting on the credit card or splashing the cash, save up for it until you can afford it. Put money aside, perhaps in a jar or separate account so you can watch it grow and see the rewards of saving for something. The guilt associated with impulse buys will be greatly reduced and you’ll save money. Taking time to consider your purchases helps develop a better sense of long-term rewards. Addicts often have very little regard for the future and “live for the moment.” Many experts agree that this lack of motivation towards long term gratification is common amongst all addicts.
Look at what your past purchases
Before opening your purse or wallet, resist the urge to splurge and look at what you already own. Shopping addicts often make multiple purchases of the same thing. They may never take the products out of their bags. Hiding the evidence of shopping addiction is common, from hiding actual purchases to destroying bank statements to remove any evidence of their overspending from loved ones.
Shopping in Secret
An addict may become secretive or and try and hide their addiction from friends and family. They will avoid, often discussing how much they spent and what on. They will lie about how much the things they have bought cost. The shopping addict may become hostile if anyone approaches the subject of their addiction and the problem shopper may shop alone and become withdrawn and isolate themselves from their friends and family.
There is therapy and help available to people shopping addiction from 12-step programs, medical help and other rehabilitation options. If you or anyone you know has problems with their spending you should seek help immediately.