Omniomania is compulsive shopping or what's more commonly referred to as shopping addiction is the most socially reinforced of the behavioral addictions.
We are surrounded by advertising telling us that buying will make us happy. We are encouraged by politicians to spend as a way of boosting the economy. And we all want to have what those around us have because it has become a big a measure of our social worth.
Almost everyone shops to some degree but only about 6% of the U.S. population is thought to have a shopping addiction. Usually beginning in the late teens and early adulthood shopping addiction often co occurs with other disorders, including mood and anxiety disorders substance use disorders eating disorders other impulse control disorders and personality disorders. Like other behavioral addictions shopping addiction is a controversial idea. Many experts balk at the idea that excessive spending can constitute an addiction believing that there has to be a psychoactive substance which produces symptoms such as physical tolerance and withdrawal for an activity to be a true addiction.
5 ways to beat your shopping addictions
2. Discover the need shopping fills. Excessive shopping doesn't serve a functional purpose you probably don't need 15 purses it serves a psychological purpose bu meeting an unfilled or under filled need. For the non shopaholic it may look like crazy or irrational behavior. It's not. The shopaholic is often entirely rational. They shop for a reason it fulfills a need so they keep doing it.
No matter what you do if you don't find an alternative and healthier way to fill this need, the shopping urge won't fade. So the first step in halting compulsive shopping is to identify the psychological need driving it. Does the shopping provide pleasure, or does it help you avoid pain? In other words do you shop to feel something you don't feel anywhere else throughout the day (a rush, excitement, variety, stimulation, being in control, feeling naughty) or do you shop to avoid feeling something negative such as anxiety loneliness or fear? Determine what part of the shopping provides the reward. Is it going with friends social? Is it being around others community? Is it searching for things? Is it feeling significant? Does the shopping create relationship conflicts so you get attention or a sense of connection, albeit negative? It takes an open mind and guts to analyze yourself like this, but it often provides the answer.
3. Replace shopping with something healthier. The shopaholic needs to find a healthier alternative to filling the need. Brainstorm how you could fill this need in other ways. Often you'll find that someone with one addiction will trade it for another addiction. This is not a positive long-term solution. The goal is to trade in a negative and destructive addiction for one that is positive and healthy, or at least neutral. Sometimes it's just not enough to replace shopping with a healthier habit. In this case, figure out what's more important than shopping. What do you value more in life? Your children, spouse security prestige? Whatever it is, you must link how continuing to shop will destroy what you value most. If you value the love from your family and friends, it's easy to see how that you will ruin these relationships if you keep borrowing and spending.
4. Change your environment. Our environment plays a huge role in our behavior. If you keep a bowl of jellybeans on your desk it's clear what you will snack on throughout the day. Use the environment to your advantage. It makes no sense for the alcoholic to test their willpower by having a snack at their local bar and it makes no sense for the shopaholic to be in shopping malls. Create no fly zones places you can't go such as malls stores and other shopping areas. You want to remove any ambiguity in your rules. If you don't, then in the heat of the moment the shopaholic will rationalize a way to shop. Make a list of the places you can and cannot go. Eliminate any TV watching at least in the beginning and stay from magazines and newspapers. You basically want to remove any cues from the environment to shop.
5. Get support. Kicking an addiction is hard to do alone. Get some help from friends, family or others. Debators Anonmous is a great resource, and they have groups in cities across the country.