Amusement or Addiction? Recognizing Signs of Shopping Addiction

I write about shopping all the time, and thought that it would be irresponsible of me not to touch upon the subject of shopping addiction from time to time. If you find yourself being unable to resist buying things you may wonder if you’re actually addicted.

It is actually a recognized disorder called Oniomania or Compulsive Buying Disorder – and I sometimes wonder if I have it. So I did some research to find out the symptoms of shopping addiction. According to the experts, some of the warning signs of this shopping problem could be: (I was quite relieved to find that I display none of the worrying signs, except being a woman that is)  

  1. Do you shop beyond your means? This is usually the first warning sign – buying things on credit, buying things you really cannot afford and then finding it difficult to pay off that debt.
  2. Do you experience buyer’s remorse? Do you agonize over your purchase – wondering if you did the right thing by buying something? You may feel that you could have done better buying something else, or you may feel guilty making a purchase thinking the money may have been better spent otherwise.
  3. Is your shopping out of control? It could be that you end up buying things you don’t need and didn’t plan to buy anyway. Impulse buying, unnecessary buying and being unable to resist buying stuff are warning signs.
  4. Do you fantasize about shopping? Even if you don’t actually do a lot of buying, it could be that you spend a lot of time thinking and fantasizing about shopping. Don’t ignore this sign; it could be the symptom of a worse problem.
  5. Is it a chronic problem? Do you find that you’re repeating this behavior?
  6. Do you hide or lie about your shopping? Are you afraid of the criticism that you know your shopping will get from friends, family or spouse?
  7. Is your shopping affecting your relationships? If your shopping is the cause of frequent arguments and fights, you need to take very serious note of it.
  8. Do problems trigger a shopping spree; such as an argument, a setback or some frustration in life? The shopaholic’s personality is such that they tolerate stress poorly – the person may not have coping mechanisms in place to handle stress and turns to activities such as shopping hoping it will make them feel better.

If you’re a woman you’re more at risk – 80% of those who are addicted to shopping are female. An estimated 5.8% of the population could have this type of addiction.  Researchers have found that a shopaholic will frequently have other related problems such as eating disorders, anxiety disorder or substance addiction.

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