Oniomania : Shopaholic

  • It is time to treat the shopaholic like any other addict

Lata Jain

In Hyderabad, a Director of a Company who loved being single, estranged from her family spends an average of 60,000 per month on an extravagant lifestyle that includes buying dresses costing 4000 to 5000  and shoes worth 2000 to 3000.

In vizag, a 24-year-old part-time lecturer spends Rs.10000 to 12000 borrowing money from friends and falling behind in her bills.

lata jain

Lata Jain

These and other shoppers whose overspending has spiraled out of control are the focus today. “I have always loved to shop. I shop in order to relax from a long, stressful day. So, how does casual, relaxing shopping turn into an uncontrollable impulse that damages your personal, professional, and financial well being? Compulsive shopping is defined as an uncontrollable and impulsive urge to shop. It is considered equally destructive as any other addictive behavior, like alcoholism and drug abuse says Heena whose husband stays in Dubai. “Maybe I try to make up for my loneliness. “Shopping addicts expect that purchasing unnecessary things will aid their emotional problems or physical insecurities. Like other addictions, there is a cycle to compulsive shopping. The addict has feelings of anxiety or even depression, which they think can be soothed with shopping. This cycle is endlessly repeated, because the addict often ends up feeling worse than they did before they made a purchase, causing them to shop more says Dr.Narottam Patil, a psychiatrist.

Many times we come across people who go out to buy nothing but end up buying an armful of goods that one was unable to resist. Clever marketing strategies are at work to tap into the most primal urges of an indivual.

Advertisers play their role. Advertisers use everything from product placements in movies and TV shows to submarginal massaging to less clothes to sex to get us to buy their goods. Already softened by these advertisements, their unrealistic promises, once you arrive at the mall, the pitch for the credit card begins in earnest. Aromas that pull you to carefree holiday mood, clothes that are irresistible, begging to be touched and tried. The odds of leaving the five storied, well maneuvered malls are nil.

Shopping is an addiction and malls and store designers map out the journey they want shoppers to take says Neha Puri, a consumer Psychologists from Australia who was hear to deliver a lecture. Naked communications Director Adam emphasizes that the malls are designed to keep people gambling by creating disorienting exits, not allowing clocks and keeping people awake.

Fresh, Wal-Mart, Mandi and many other supermarkets place fruits and vegetables   at the front and to the consumers left, both to make consumer feel better about guiltier purchase they make at a later stage. Unplanned or unwanted purchases are drawn by aroma or free taste or gift vouchers. Many humans like animals find the taste, aroma, prices, offers, advertisements irresistible and end up paying 50 times more than their actual budget.

This addiction affects more women than men, but men are not out of the woods. The behavior is not about the possessions. It’s about the temporary escape that spending money gives.

Like any other addict, there is denial about the problem. They always say that it will never happen again……until the next time. Many compulsive shoppers cannot pay their bills, have bad credit and may have legal problems says Manor Advocate at the consumer court.

The technical term for a shopping addiction is oniomania. The word comes from the roots onios, “for sale” and mania, “madness.” In psychiatric literature, this syndrome is also referred to as compulsive buying disorder (CB)

Compulsive shoppers are actively acquiring the items, but they don’t care about them after they have them. Women will hang new clothes in the closet, yet never take them out of the bag and never take off the tags. Men will leave the CDs wrapped in plastic and never listen to them says Nidhi a student of psychology who is submitting her research papers on this subject. Research showed that men tend to buy electronic gadgets, tools, books, and compact discs, while women tend to buy clothes, makeup, craft items, and objects for the home says Madhu,also a student.

Shopping has been cynically described as the new religion and malls its temples and the critics are right, shopping and be a religious experience.

If one gets to flip through the pages of Lindstroms book, Buyology, the book reveals the role other peoples behavior plays in our shopping experience. Helped by marketing that invokes a sense of cool, belonging or indulgence it explains why certain items and brands such as iphones, mobiles are catchy. Brands play their role. Apple as a strong sense of mission, Microsoft is also doing quite well with its strong niche in software. The apple logo is arguably as recognizable an s a religious symbol.

Compulsive buyers like to shop online for several reasons. The first is that they can buy unobserved, which temporarily reduces the potential for family tension over improper spending habits.

The internet also offers a greater variety of store choices from one location. The other reason internet shopping attracts compulsive buyers is that online stores send constant updates and incentives to high user customers. Internet buyers get an immediate positive feeling.  During this therapy, the addict is encouraged to not only recognize that they are a compulsive shopper, but to dig deeper to find the cause of their behavior. They must work to find the things, or triggers that make them want to shop. They must asses and understand their behavior, and they must be willing to work in order to develop healthy spending behaviors. Recovering compulsive shoppers are encouraged to find alternative pastimes instead of shopping. Getting rid of credit cards is also recommended. There has also been medical treatment with anti depressants to such kind of people  since depression is a common underlying cause of compulsive buying.

Exercise! Shed stress, release feel-good chemistry in your brain, restore proper thinking and get balanced, physically and emotionally.  When you feel the impulse for that “high,” exercise to achieve a healthy high

  • Treat yourself afterwards with something healthy and delicious to eat because that is what life is all about.
  • Immerse yourself in a creative hobby to lose track of time and make you feel alive. Find something you love to do and are good at doing like painting, photography, sewing etc.
  • Spend some time with your friends doing some healthy gossiping.
  • After staying away from the mall or boutique stores for a few months and swearing not to touch your credit card, shop with cash.
  • Manage the little daily stress because they accumulate and overwhelm.
  • Change up your routine. Rearrange the nick-knacks in your home to make them look new and special.

So if you are not in a mood for some retail therapy but can’t avoid going to shopping center, the best thing to do is to leave your wallet at home because shops have the tricks to make you buy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.