Archive | March 6, 2013

About My Addiction

What Is Oniomania?
Definition: Oniomania is the psychiatric term for compulsive shopping, or shopping addiction. People with oniomania shop on impulse as a way of coping and find it difficult to control their spending or shopping behaviors.
Pronunciation: O-nee-O-may-nee-a
Also Known As: Oniomania
Common Misspellings: compulsive shopping, compulsive buying, Compulsive Buying Disorder (CBD), overspending, shopping addiction, shopaholism
Janette, who struggled with oniomania, ran up thousands of dollars of credit card debt just in a few months.
Shopping Addiction
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What is Marketing?
Five Easy Ways to Save Money
How to Control Spending

Article About Shopping Addiction

What Is Shopping Addiction?

Compulsive Shopping Basics

By , Guide

Updated July 15, 2011 Health’s Disease and Condition content is reviewed by the Medical Review Board


What Is Shopping Addiction?

The thrill of shopping is short-lived.

Image (c) Stella Levi


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Omniomania, compulsive shopping (or what’s more commonly referred to as shopping addiction), is perhaps 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 –- consumerism has become a measure of our social worth.

Although widespread consumerism has escalated in recent years, shopping addiction is not a new disorder.  It was recognized as far back as the early nineteenth century, and was cited as a psychiatric disorder in the early twentieth century.

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.

Normal Shopping v. Shopping Addiction

So what makes the difference between normal shopping, occasional splurges, and shopping addiction?  As with all addictions, shopping becomes the person’s main way of coping with stress, to the point where they continue to shop excessively even when it is clearly having a negative impact on other areas of their life.  As with other addictions, finances and relationships are damaged, yet the shopping addict feels unable to stop or even control their spending.

The Controversy of Shopping Addiction

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.

There is also some disagreement among professionals about whether compulsive shopping should be considered an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), impulse control disorder (like pathological gambling), mood disorder (like depression), or addiction.  It has been suggested that, along with kleptomania (compulsive stealing) and binge-eating disorder (BED), it be viewed as an impulsive-compulsive spectrum disorder.

How Is Shopping Addiction Like Other Addictions?

There are several characteristics that shopping addiction shares with other addictions.  As with other addictions, shopping addicts become preoccupied with spending, and devote significant time and money to the activity.  Actual spending is important to the process of shopping addiction; window shopping does not constitute an addiction, and the addictive pattern is actually driven by the process of spending money.

As with other addictions, shopping addiction is highly ritualized and follows a typically addictive pattern of thoughts about shopping, planning shopping trips, and the shopping act itself, often described as pleasurable, ecstatic even, and as providing relief from negative feelings.  Finally, the shopper crashes, with feelings of disappointment, particularly with the him/herself.

Compulsive shoppers use shopping as a way of escaping negative feelings, such as depression, anxiety, boredom, self-critical thoughts, and anger.  Unfortunately, the escape is short-lived. The purchases are often simply hoarded unused, and compulsive shoppers will then begin to plan the next spending spree.  Most shop alone, although some shop with others who enjoy it. Generally, it will lead to embarrassment to shop with people who don’t share this type of enthusiasm for shopping.

What If I Have a Shopping Addiction?

Research indicates that around three-quarters of compulsive shoppers are willing to admit their shopping is problematic, particularly in areas of finances and relationships. Of course, this may reflect the willingness of those who participate in research to admit to having problems.  Fortunately, although not yet well-researched, compulsive shopping does appear to respond well to a range of treatments, including medications, self help books, self help groups, financial counseling, and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).  It should be noted, however, that although some medications show promise, results are mixed, so they should not be considered a sole or reliable treatment.

If you believe you may have a shopping addiction, discuss possible treatments with your doctor.  You may also find it helpful to get financial counseling, particularly if you have run up debts by spending.  It is recommended that you abstain from use of checkbooks and credit cards, as the easy access to funding tends to fuel the addiction.

Shopping only with friends or relatives who do not compulsively spend is also a good idea, as they can help you to curb your spending.  Finding alternative ways of enjoying your leisure time is essential to breaking the cycle of using shopping as way of trying to feel better about yourself.  Remember, you are a worthwhile person, no matter how much or how little you own.



Black, D. “A Review of Compulsive Buying Disorder.” World Psychiatry. 6:14-18. 2007.

Black, D. “Compulsive Buying Disorder: A Review of the Evidence.” CNS Spectr. 12(2):124-32. Feb 2007.

Christenson G, Faber R, de Zwaan M, Raymond N, Specker S, Ekern M, Mackenzie T, Crosby R, Crow S, Eckert E, et al. “Compulsive buying: descriptive characteristics and psychiatric comorbidity.” J Clin Psychiatry.55(1):5-11. Jan 1994.

McElroy S, Keck P Jr, Phillips K.  “Kleptomania, compulsive buying, and binge-eating disorder.” J Clin Psychiatry. 56 Suppl 4:14-26. 1995.

Mueller A, de Zwaan M. “Treatment of compulsive buying.” Fortschr Neurol Psychiatr. 76:478-83. Aug 2008.

Tavares H, Lobo D, Fuentes D, Black D. “Compulsive Buying Disorder: A Review and a Case Vignette.” Rev Bras Psiquiatr. 30 Suppl 1:S16-23. May 2008.

Diamonds of the Day

Here is my list of what I am grateful fir today- my head is still reeling and I have had an off day – migraines and all!!

So if my list is a bit off please forgive me because I have had trouble concentrating

Things I Am Grateful For:
> courage to voice addictions
> spending time with client
> mild weather
> emails from my mom 🙂
> discovering new books

Sorry it seems lame but my mind is fuzzy and I have been exhausted last few days – when anxiety attacks hit they drain me for days!!

My confession

The other day I had to admit to myself and my husband that my shopping habit is an addiction!!

It was extremely hard to do and took a lot out of me because I have been hiding from it for a long time and pretending I had everything under control!!

I haven’t been able to admit the amount of debt that I have acquired and I need to handle it on my own!! I need to turn something positive out of something negative!!

There is a part of me that is afraid of the look of “disappointment” from my husband and feeling “broken” from his attitude toward me after he finds out!!
I occurred this debt through addiction and mental health issues and I have to face my demons head on ALONE!!

I have committed to sacrificing luxury items and put all i have into bill payments and paying debt off – no matter how long it takes me!!

I am currently looking to get additional jobs to pay off debts!!

Stay tuned for more….

Thoughts of Day

As I sit outside this building I watch everyone coming and going and i wonder what their stories are!!
What brings them to this destination?
I am reminded of how fast life is and how seldom we take time to notice what is around us!!
Do we really pay life and all its majesty full attention? I know I can honestly say I haven’t as its hard not to be caught up in your head and absorbed in your own story.
I find one the lessons I am learning is to take the time to notice life!
Instead of pretending we live in this world alone, we need to take notice of people around us and be sympathetic to their stories.