What could be wrong with shopping and wanting to walk around the mall for a few hours? It seems like nothing, a little shopping always lifts the mood. But there is another “side of the medal”: if a person buys everything and more (although he clearly does not need it), it is a clear sign that he is not healthy and suffers from shopaholism. And this, in turn, speaks of low self-esteem.
Why is shopaholism a disease?
Shopaholism is the uncontrollable urge to make purchases without the need for them. The analyzed concept has entered into use relatively recently, but the number of people suffering from addiction to shopaholism is steadily increasing. Shopaholics are also referred to as “onomania”, which means making insane purchases.
Often the craving described is equated with alcoholism or other variations of addiction. However, this is erroneous, because the uncontrollable craving in question does not have such a detrimental effect on the existence of individuals. The female sex is more susceptible to shopaholism, but men are not immune to this affliction. The main sign of this addiction can be considered the lack of rational thought in the purchase of a certain product.
The reasons for the occurrence of shopaholism
Experts assert that shopaholism as an addiction is formed more often in women due to attention deficit, inner desolation, feeling of loneliness, desire for recognition, as well as in case of depressive moods because of separation with a partner.
In addition, it is possible to identify a number of other factors that provoke the development of the described addiction, namely a low degree of self-regulation, the illusion of power, control and freedom, the craving for adrenaline, the need for love, and psychological traumas originating from childhood.
Shopping can give the illusion of control over one’s own existence and a kind of freedom, because it minimizes anxiety, eliminates depressive attitudes, and increases confidence and respect for one’s self. A person has the opportunity to buy what he or she desires right now, rather than necessary goods or recommended items. This gives the subject a sense of freedom.
If a person’s past is a pile of unresolved psychological problems, trauma, difficulties in communicative interaction, a tendency to frustration, a predisposition to depressive moods, the acquisition of a new object can be seen as an attempt to reward oneself, to comfort, to show care.
In addition, shopaholism is often a so-called vicious circle – a person makes an unnecessary purchase, at home he begins to regret the exorbitant and irrational spending, which leads to feelings of guilt in front of his relatives. Naturally, the subject’s mood declines and apathy arises. And he can only get rid of his unpleasant feelings with the help of shopping. And start it doing again.
Shopping is considered an effective antidepressant. When buying a certain thing, human subjects’ bodies produce serotonin, which is responsible for feelings of joy, as well as adrenaline, which is responsible for emotional outbursts. Constant stressors in family life and work activities, insecurity, low self-esteem – these internal unresolved problems are looking for ways to release, and often the excessive urge to make useless purchases becomes such an exit.
Usually the desire to shop uncontrollably indicates problems with self-esteem and childhood trauma. According to psychologists: a person who does not control what and why he buys, thus wants to raise his social status in the eyes of others. Shopaholics are one of the ways to improve your self-esteem or compensate for the feeling of poverty. In the international classification of diseases shopaholism has long been recognized as a mental disorder, but doctors still treat this phenomenon indulgently: “well, people are happy shopping, let they have fun”.
Symptoms of Shopaholism
The concept of shopaholism was first introduced at the turn of the 19th century by the German psychiatrist E. Kreipelin. His joint work with E. Bleuler made it possible to identify the main symptoms and signs of the described psychological addiction.
To identify a shopaholic in the early stages of addiction, it is worth paying attention to how he assesses other people. Shopaholics usually actively discuss what others are wearing, but do not pay attention to their actions.
There are other signs of addiction to shopaholics:
- Going to the store for such people is not accompanied by a need or a clear intention to buy something in particular;
- Once in the store, the shopaholic is not looking for something specific, but looks at almost all the goods that are on the glass cases;
- Such people constantly follow fashion trends, not missing any post about fashion in social networks, or any fashion TV program, or any fashion magazine;
- Such people have a constant desire to buy something for no objective reason;
- Shopaholics are constantly discussing clothes and goods they have recently purchased;
- If you refuse to go to the mall with them, such people resent you and may even become apathetic or depressed;
- Shopaholics always have a lot of new things in their houses. But what’s interesting: they can’t even remember what product they bought last time!;
- Once in the mall, the mood of a shopaholic rises sharply, he feels an unprecedented emotional lift, and the urgent problems are as if levelled;
- After conflict situations in family relationships or in the working team, the person can calm down only with the help of shopping;
- The person visits shopping centers, shopping malls, and large stores for absolutely no reason.
At first glance, the listed symptomatology is not a threat to existence, but it can greatly affect a person’s health. Therefore, the question of how to get rid of shopaholism of buying up clothes or other items is quite relevant and is becoming more and more demanded every year.
After all, shopaholism carries social consequences, such as:
- Debts leading to the sale of family heirlooms, chattels, mortgages;
- Theft in stalls, supermarkets, shopping malls, small stores;
- Stealing money from close relatives;
- The fraud;
- Asocial and immoral behavior. Lack of money to buy things can often lead girls to prostitution;
- The endless family conflicts and family disintegration.
How can we get rid of this destructive passion – buying for the sake of buying?
How to get rid of shopaholism?
1. Start controlling your own spending money
To do this, it is necessary to accustom yourself not only to count the costs, but also to plan purchases in advance, carefully, with market research.
Psychologists recommend to analyze in advance the need to purchase a certain product, so as to refrain from making spontaneous purchases. Even if the desired object is on the list of necessities, you should not rush to the first thing you see in the store. First you should study the price policy, the quality characteristics of the item, the design, the composition. Thoughts about the need to buy new shoes to match the handbag should be rejected immediately.
2. Understand what makes you want to go shopping
Shopaholics don’t always think about what to buy. Even such people have moments in life when they do not think about shopping, but are busy with something more useful and exciting. The first thing to do in the fight against this addiction is to find out what makes a person go to the stores and buy unnecessary things. And when this desire disappears.
The reasons may vary, from banal boredom to serious emotional turmoil. It’s worth keeping a diary and recording these states. This will allow you to determine the root cause of the need, and in the future it will be easier to control the urge to buy.
3. Think about what needs the future purchase will satisfy
It is important to realize what psychological needs are being satisfied by the purchase. Maybe shopping replaces a lack of entertainment or makes you forget about your troubles? Determine what kind of shopping you like most: going to the mall with friends or searching for goods online.
Once you know all these nuances, you can find a substitute for shopping. For example, if shopping is entertaining, you can try other ways of entertainment. If you like shopping on the Web and you quickly find even the rarest products, make it your small business by becoming a purchasing manager.
If the question of shopaholism, how to cure it, then, first of all, it is necessary to understand that purchases should be made on the basis of the importance of the purchased goods, and not due to the presence of a discount on it or the profitability of the offer. Any purchase must be dictated by the necessities of life.
Therefore, it should be understood that a discount or a promotion is not a valid reason to buy a product. The sale of a certain product does not make it necessary for a particular person. Often, shopaholics, having bought a discount product, never use it.
New collections should also be avoided. Why buy an item more expensive than its face value. It is better to wait a little bit for the sale season and buy the necessary thing many times cheaper.
4. Stop carrying credit cards in your wallet
It is also advisable to get rid of credit cards, because counting on the ability to use them if necessary guarantees a steady increase in debts. In addition, cash will give you a better sense of the relationship between spending money and buying things. In order to control your own spending, it is advisable to leave home with a limited amount of money.
You should also keep a list of expenses. Because saving receipts and keeping records of goods purchased allows you to see the real picture of spending and evaluate its rationality. In addition, such actions will help you understand what to take, what purchases to exclude, and what goods, on the contrary, to add to your buylist.
5. Find a substitute for shopping
This has already been mentioned, but it is worth elaborating on this point.
When a person is clearly aware of the causes and consequences of shopping, they are able to understand what practices will be an alternative to this wasteful addiction. Boredom can be diluted with new hobbies: signing up for dancing, going to soccer, skydiving or horseback riding. The modern world offers a lot of options for entertainment. If you fill your life with vivid impressions, you won’t have time, desire or energy to shop.
6. Stop reading glossy magazines and fashion bloggers
The information space largely determines our “wants” and influences our decisions. Television, advertising on billboards, and on the Web are all factors that can become catalysts for purchases. The less a person will be faced with these stimuli, the weaker will be his desire to buy something.
Most cases of shopaholism refer to a mild form, but if there is a psychological factor underlying the disorder (a feeling of loneliness, low self-esteem, depression, etc.), then it is better to consult a specialist.
If you feel that you cannot control your desire to visit malls, that you cannot control your spending while shopping, then it is recommended that you try to avoid visiting malls, online stores and other places of trade for a while. Take a break. Disconnect from external distractions. Allow yourself some time to think about the need to buy.
Psychologists advise relatives of a person suffering from shopaholism, first of all, it is necessary to limit his access to bank cards, as well as to cut down on pocket money. You should also try to protect your loved one from the effects of stressors, avoid conflicts with him, try to improve his mood in various ways, give more positive emotions, show concern and wait.