Characteristics of a Shopaholic

A shopaholic is a person who is addicted to shopping. This is a person who can live their entire lives in the malls or in online stores looking for things that they probably don’t even need. They end up spending a lot of money

English: Living room from a person with compul...

English: Living room from a person with compulsive hoardingBochum, Germany. Deutsch: Wohnraum einer Person mit Messie-Syndrom in Bochum, Deutschland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

which is quite unhealthy. Below are some of the characteristics of such individuals:


  • Has tagged or unopened items in the house- a shopaholic will have loads of items that have tags or are unopened in the house. These are not presents that they were given by friends and can’t seem to find any use for them but something that they bought but have not used them. Most of the time they will even forget that they have the items.
  • They buy things for the sake- while most people will visit the store to buy something that they really need, a shopaholic will but items just for the sake of buying them. This means that that they don’t even need the items in questions. They also do not plan to buy the items as they just get something that they are tempted to spend money on.
  • Frustrations or arguments brings out the shopping beast- with a shopaholic the slightest frustration or argument will spark a craving for shopping. Shopping for such people is usually considered a form of therapy that helps them escape the negativity of life. This is because shopping is done to fill an empty void in their lives. Such people also suffer from other disorders like eating, mood and substance abuse etc. Studies have shown that a person who binge eat or finds comfort in food will most likely be prone to compulsive shopping.
  • Excitement when shopping- a shopaholic will feel a certain rush of excitement every time they make a new purchase. This is not caused by the act of owning the item but simply by buying the items. Research has shown that dopamine which is a brain chemical that is mostly associated with pleasure is released when the person is shopping. This burst of such excitement can become quite addictive thus you always want to shop so as to experience it.
  • Purchases are usually followed by remorseful feelings- most of the compulsive shoppers will experience waves of guilt once they have bought the items they once desired. This does not only happen when they have made big purchases as it also applies to instances when they take advantage of bargains and other discount deals. Despite this feeling the shopper will always find some reasons to rationalize the behavior.
  • Anxiety when not shopping- a shopaholic will feel anxious on the days that they are not shopping. This is the same feeling that coffee addicts usually get when they have not started their day with a cup of coffee. This might go as far as interrupting their daily schedule in such a way that they cannot do anything without hitting the shopping courts first. Most of these shoppers will also conceal their shopping habits and will not want the people close to them that they are into compulsive shopping.
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