7th February 2018
In an extract from her book “Better With Money” our author Jo Thresher discusses compulsive buying and how you can beat it
We use “Shopaholic” as a fun term and there are films and books about shopaholic characters. But a shopaholic is a person addicted to shopping. Are you really, actually addicted?
The medical term for a shopping addiction is compulsive buying disorder or oniomania, from the Greek words onios and manis –literally ‘sale insanity’. Something to think about the next time you’re deciding whether to go to the Boxing Day sales?
In an article in Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy in 2009, Stephen Kellett and Jessica Bolton defined compulsive buying as ‘experienced as an irresistible–uncontrollable urge, resulting in excessive, expensive and time-consuming retail activity [that is] typically prompted by negative affectivity’ and results in ‘gross social, personal and/or financial difficulties’.
Ruth Engs, former professor of Applied Health Sciences at Indiana University, found that some people develop a shopping addiction because shopping triggers the release of happy hormones, endorphins and dopamine. Engs claimed that ten to fifteen percent of the population may be predisposed to these feelings (http://www.indiana.edu/~engs/hints/shop.html).
If you truly think you are addicted to shopping and experience an uncontrollable urge which is (or probably will end up) causing you difficulty, sadness and debt, can I gently suggest you consult a medical professional? There are many treatments for addictive disorders but for shopping addiction group therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be very successful. So, stop reading and reach out. You can come back to this book once you’ve got the personal support you need.
If you’re not actually addicted, but use the word shopaholic to excuse and make light of your over-spending here are some tips to help: