If you are a self-proclaimed shopaholic, then it might be time to close up shop indefinitely.

You might have a laundry list that could rival Bridget Jones’ diary. For instance, neither you nor your Mr. Darcy loves your “wobbly bits” per se. Bridget drowned in Vodka and sappy love songs; you don’t choose “Vodka. And Chaka Khan,” you just choose to shop.


While retail therapy seems harmless enough, it isn’t. In the medical circle, your shopping habit is known as oniomania. Compulsive shopping after a fight with your partner or after receiving a blow to your ego is a coping mechanism. Instead of dealing with the feelings of low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, loneliness or anger, many people turn to retail therapy for a “pick me up.”

A shopping addiction rounds up the top three most common types of addictions – alcohol and food. There is no universal definition of a shopping addiction. Some shopping addicts go through shopping spurts, especially during the holidays, or from emotional triggers. Others have the compulsion to shop throughout the year.

The Guardian reported that 8-16 percent of people, or around 8 million Brits, are affected by some form of oniomania. While women are notoriously stereotyped to shop till they drop, the research data actually supports this. Stanford University Professor Lorrin Koran claimed that over 90 percent of oniomania sufferers are women; you can blame serotonin levels for that.

Your seemingly benign addiction can have major consequences. After the short high from shopping, many shopping addicts add feelings of shame, anxiety and guilt to what led them to go on their shopping spree in the first place. Apart from being emotionally taxing, debts rack up too and you could end up needing professional money help all because of to your retail therapy. Your retail therapy could also land you in couple’s therapy as many relationships are strained because the partner of the revenge shopper can feel very betrayed and hurt.

If you feel like you need it, then professional help is always available. If you still feel in control of your shopping, then there is a lot that you can do to help yourself too. It’s about learning what Bridget Jones had to learn – liking yourself just the way that you are. Until you get there, treat yourself to some Chaka Khan.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Peter has received many accreditation's including many from the Times Online. As founder of You Could Save (2005) and What Stationers (2007) Peter regularly helps consumers and national organisation ‘save money’. He believes that the only successful way to bring people together online is to provide an open marketplace where people can all work together in a friendly, unbiased environment. You can contact Peter Millikin either through his Google+ account or via his websites.

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