Understanding Oniomania

Oniomania is a term used to refer to the compulsive desire to shop. It is also known as shopping addiction, compulsive shopping, compulsive buying, CB or shopaholism.  It can either be an impulse control disorder or clinical addiction. Most people who suffer from the condition are not aware that they are suffering from an unknown mental illness that is quite painful to deal with.  Research reveals that more women than men are likely to suffer from this disorder. The condition propels the victim to want to shop until they drop, whether they want the items they have bought the items or not. Most of the times, the condition leads the victim into serious debt because they often do not have the money to cover their excessive shopping habits.

Psychiatrists who deal with people suffering from Oniomania say that the behavior is triggered by the need to deal with loneliness and the need to feel special. The victims engage in shopping activities so that they can fill the void inside and feel good if only for a few seconds. This, however, does not work and they end up falling deeper into the activity and it gradually becomes a problem. As the problem escalates, the victim unknowingly becomes dependent on the activity and sooner or later they are unable to get a grip on themselves falling deeper into depression.

Individuals with Oniomania are most likely to start shopping in secret especially when relationships with friends and family members are strained, debt increases and the situation becomes worse. There are times where they might go as far as hiding the goods they have bought or destroying them completely because they feel ashamed of what they are doing.  This also acts as a way of hiding the addiction they are suffering from. There are no specific things that cause people to act the way they do, but some of the situations that lead a person to suffer from Oniomania include:

Personal problems that may lead a person to deal with a series of emotions like stress and anger. This makes them self medicate by buying something that will make them forget about their problems momentarily. However, after going through the shopping experience the victim rather than feeling satisfied goes ahead to feel depressed or regretful. To deal with these new negative feelings, the person might have to make new purchases in hope that these will make them feel better.

The condition often affects people who had problems growing up and suffered from neglect from parents or missing things that made them have low self esteem. It can get worse when a person feels like they can steal to satisfy their cravings for shopping and this could make things far worse when the law enforcement gets involved. The condition has been linked with emotional deprivation especially during the early childhood years leading to an inability to deal with any negative feeling s that comes a person’s way, excessive dependency, seeking excitement or approval, need to gain control and perfectionism. The good news however is that Oniomania is not something that cannot be cured and help from a professional psychiatrist can help victims deal with the problem and live normal lives once again.


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