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Is Oniomania a Modern-Day Problem for You?

 width= There is a new word around - and that is Oniomania - and it means suffering from a shopping addiction or compulsive buying. Most of us like to do a bit of shopping from time to time and that is perfectly natural. But for some, a bit of shopping can turn into a much more frequent occurrence, even becoming an obsession.

The age of online shopping is not helping this compulsion

If you do become a compulsive shopper, think how easy it becomes when you can sit at home, smart phone in one hand and credit card in the other hand, and just keep on buying - at first. But that ease does not last... Pamela Roberts is the addiction programme manager at a UK hospital. She says: "The time and emotional stress involved in online searching, social media scrolling, visiting shops, juggling credit card bills, hiding purchases from family and returning goods can cause severe disruption to everyday life."

Shopping can produce the chemical dopamine

But for some shoppers, the high of dopamine can start to plummet as soon as they have completed their purchase (either online or physically in a shop) meaning that they want to start the process all over again. The increase of dopamine in the brain can trigger powerful feelings of reward and motivation. Happily, most people can usually keep this balanced by self control - not to mention practical financial restraints. When people become addicted to the pleasure of spending, it can turn into a full blown and frequent shopping trip in order to get their fix.

Shopping can be a way of coping with emotions

Those emotions can include sadness, boredom, stress or anxiety. When things become too much, the thought of shopping can feel like you are rewarding yourself with a treat, making it difficult not to be distracted from the working day and any problems with family or relationships.

How to know if compulsive shopping has become a problem for you?

  • Do you buy lots of things that you really don't need - and then don't use?
  • Do you spend an excessive amount of time scrolling through online shopping or auction sites.
  • Do you hoard goods at home?
  • Do you go to extreme lengths to conceal items you have bought?
  • Do you conceal your credit card statements when they start to mount up?
It is important to recognize and accept that you have a problem. Then you can take steps to do something about it, even seeking professional help and therapy. In 2018, the Hanover Medical School conducted a study in which they found that 7% of all adults show some form of compulsive buying issues. Part of the recovery process means learning to become familiar with the triggers that set you off on a shopping spree so that you can develop the resilience needed. Pamela Roberts advises: "Learning positive coping techniques and alternative methods for receiving the same pleasurable effects that shopping gives is an important part of the healing process."    width=