Compulsive Shopping: Buy When it Becomes an Addiction?

Everyone likes to go shopping a pleasure but when it becomes a habit pathological? Here you go!

In summer you’re more in the open air, you spend more time walking and complicit stays in new places, shopping becomes a must!

But it is a justifiable trend?

When it becomes a habit to interrupt pathological with the help of a psychologist?

Although the phenomenon of compulsive shopping has emerged ever more clearly in recent times, a prominent German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin, had already given a name in 1915: “oniomania” or “mania of buying.”

The novelty of recent times is that academia has shown a growing attention to this phenomenon, considering how other behavioral addictions, such as gambling, internet, relationships, sexuality.

These trends, which are part of everyday life for most of us, can take some pathological features, arriving to cause very serious consequences.

Compulsive shopping

The compulsive buying disorder is quite tricky to study and classify does not actually require the hiring of illegal substances, such as in drug addictions for example, and this makes it certainly more difficult to assess the harmful consequences in the life of a person. But how can you be then defined this disorder?

What is the fine line between being lovers of shopping and not being able to stop doing it?

If we are already thinking about the alarming number of shoes amassed in our closet, here is a definition that will make us think about what kind of buyers are: compulsive shopping has as its main components the irresistible impulse and urgent purchase, a growing tension that finds relief only in the act of buying and an uncontrollable impulse that leads to underestimate or neglect of any negative consequence (economic, business, relational or psychological).

If we try to analyze specifically this definition, we can see many important facets.

First of all the influence of the current society that exalts the consumerism , the purchase of the superfluous and the possession of a product that is seen as a substitute for true happiness.

Added to this is the fact that compulsive shopping is the manifestation of an individual’s uncomfortable trying to bridge a sense of inner emptiness, or to ease anxiety or even to regulate their own suffering. The purchase represents the means to reduce tension became uncontrollable, without worrying about whether that object is actually necessary or if it is never used.

The pleasure of buying something and then takes second place, with respect to the need to loosen an internal tension and is therefore accompanied by contradictory feelings: some shopaholics subjects feel better after you buy a good, others feel a sense of guilt or depression.

Compulsive shopping is often associated with other disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Compulsive behavior arises from the need to protect themselves against the fear of something , putting in place a certain “ritual” and behind the mania for buying could then hide the fear of feeling less attractive or desirable in the eyes of others.

Those with this disorder recount to feel assaulted by the need to buy, such as by an obsession that forces them to implement this behavior and the desired object recalls in part the toy that has the power to make a baby stop crying . impulsiveness is another feature typical shopping-dependent and is reflected to the feeling that is felt before you implement the behavior, the immediate gratification and the inability to tolerate frustration when you are forced to refrain from to do it.

In other cases it is possible that the acquisition will serve to relieve a depressive feeling, such as a state of sadness, loneliness, anger or frustration.

What consequences does compulsive shopping?

The consequences of compulsive shopping can be found even after years from the start of this disorder because it does not involve damage to health or the apparent personality changes, as with other addictions.

The severity of the disorder is also known by the severity of the unpleasant consequences for themselves and their families: debt contracts and inability to pay, inability to deal with legal problems, the amount of time dedicated to shopping, family problems …

Those who fall victim to this addiction?

Research carried out about, show that it is not a disorder only “female.” Men also, though to a lesser extent, are involved in this phenomenon and buy through internet, twice as much as women do.

The products most purchased by women are represented by clothes, shoes, make-up objects, household items and books.

Men prefer instead objects for automobile, sports equipment, expensive items that may confer upon them a certain prestige.

In both cases, the preferred products seem to be related to physical appearance and image outward.

The prevalence of the female sex could be due to the fact that, while men react more actively to problems or frustrations (eg. Angry reactions), women implement more passive and emotional strategies for managing conflict and stress, including find an outlet in shopping: a socially accepted behavior and indeed, increasingly encouraged by contemporary society.

As all forms of dependency, also the compulsive buying can however be faced and positively solved by a short path of psychotherapy.

If you recognize the symptoms and believe to have experienced similar incidents, talk to a psychologist, just to know you better!

Thanks to Dr. Alice Terracchio for help in drafting.