Oniomania - Shopping Addiction


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Oniomania (from Greek onios = "for sale" : coined by German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin) also known as shopping addiction or shopaholism, is the compulsive desire to shop. Although not a DSM-IV recognized disorder, oniomania has recently received increased media attention. Similar to other compulsive behaviors, sufferers often experience the highs and lows associated with addiction. The purchase generates a mood of satisfaction for the addicted, seems to give their life a meaning and lets them forget about their sorrows. Usually back at home the feeling of a personal reward has already gone. To compensate, the addicted person goes shopping again. The bought goods will be hidden or destroyed, because the person concerned feels ashamed of their addiction and tries to conceal it. Without psychotherapy this disorder can persist a whole life or until the financial ruin of the addicted person.

The reasons for oniomania are various: fears, depressions, emotional emptiness, low self-esteem. The buying is a try to handle these feelings. The addicted person gets into a vicious circle. Negative emotions like anger and stress lead to purchasing something. The purchase leads to feelings of regret and depressions after a short time. The addicted person wants to cope with these feelings through another purchase.

The roots of this addiction can often be found in the youth of the addicted person: lack of affection and acceptance as well as lack of love and security. People concerned had to earn the affection of their parent and were not allowed to express their feelings freely. They experienced that they are not important as a person. As a compensation they used toys. As adults they have not yet learned to support their own self-esteem. Some people suffered as a child from material need and become shopping-addicted due to an ongoing sentiment of deprivation. The purchase becomes a replacement for affection. The so-called shopoholics have not learned yet to cope with conflicts. Problems in the family, worries for their job or loneliness is repressed by buying something. Women in particular want to fight their unhappiness with their appearance by buying clothes, make-up and jewelery, men tend to buy technical equipment, electronics, watches, cars or computers instead.

Social conditions may also play an important role. Especially in capitalist societies, buying is an important part of daily life. Credit cards facilitate the spending of money as well as mail orders via catalogues or the Internet. What differentiates oniomania from healthy shopping is the compulsive, destructive nature of the buying.

The consequences of oniomania, which may persist long after a spree, can be devastating. They may include over-indebtedness, theft or defalcation of money, defaulted loans, and general financial trouble. Sufferers often come into conflict with the law.[citation needed]

Oniomania has been accepted as a disorder by the Deutsche Gesellschaft Zwangserkrankungen (German organisation for obsessive-compulsive disorders) for several years.


Self help groups

In the USA and Canada there are support groups for shopping-addicted people: "Shopaholics Anonymous".

There is a free online support forum for spending addicts - Loose Change


See also


External links


Source: Wikipedia

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