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Are you suffering from Oniomania?

No, this post is not about addiction to Onions.

Oniomania (from Greek onios = "for sale," mania = insanity) is a term for the compulsive desire to shop. More commonly referred to as compulsive shopping, compulsive buying, shopping addiction or shopaholism. All of these are considered to be either clinical addictions or impulse control disorders.

In a world that is increasing materialist and survives on instant gratification, what better than shopping to quell those feelings of stress, anxiety, nervousness and insecurity.

The addicted person gets into a vicious circle that consists of negative emotions like anger and stress, which lead to purchasing something. After the buying is over, the person is either regretful or depressed. In order to cope with the feelings, the addicted person resorts to another purchase. While most of us jokingly refer to this as Retail Therapy, it is in fact a much more dangerous problem.

So if you had a bad day in office, go get yourself that new red lipstick. Feel worthless as a person, that new liner is sure to make you feel better. Bored at home, lets go check out the new sale at the mall.

Addicts often experience moods of satisfaction when they are in the process of purchasing, which seems to give their life meaning while letting them forget about their sorrows.Once leaving the store where the purchasing occurred, the feeling of a personal reward has already gone.

To compensate, the addicted person goes shopping again. Eventually a feeling of suppression will overcome the person. For example, cases have shown that the bought goods will be hidden or destroyed, because the person concerned feels ashamed of their addiction and tries to conceal it.

Below is a small quiz you can attempt understand if you are addicted to shopping. Just answer Yes or No, to the following statements:
  • Do you use shopping to improve your mood?
  • Do you use shopping as a reward for good behavior?
  • Do you spend more money shopping than you can afford?
  • Do you rationalize your overspending (e.g. it was on sale, it’s just a little splurge, this was a bargain, etc.)?
  • Do you feel giddy or “high” when you make a purchase?
  • Do you feel guilt, regret or shame after shopping?
  • Do you have “secret” credit cards?
  • Do you hide purchases?
  • Do you forget purchases you bought?
  • Do you tell your loved ones you spent less than you did on shopping?
  • Do you shop year-round?
  • Is it hard for you to browse without purchasing?
  • Can you stop yourself from shopping?
  • Does shopping preoccupy your thoughts?
  • If you cannot purchase something you want, do you feel overly angry, upset or frustrated?
  • Do you juggle expenses to accommodate your shopping?
  • Is your shopping hurting your overall budget?
  • Do you dread the day your bills come in the mail?
  • Are you often surprised at the amount you’ve spent when confronted by a credit card bill, your bank statement, a loved one or your accountant?
  • Are you honest with your loved ones about how much you spend or what you buy?
  • Is your shopping behavior hurting a loved one (e.g. loved one who has to pay bills, children who need college funds, a parent who has to cover your debt, etc.)?

 If you answered “yes” to 8 or more of the questions, you might have a shopping or spending addiction.

There are lots of tips available online to help curb this addiction. The tip that works best for me is a budget - a "mad money" budget. I pay only cash for all my purchases, and I have to restrict my spending within the mad money budget.

Are you too addicted to shopping? How do you deal with it?


  1. That's a freaky reminder Tanveer. :) Thanks for the post. I took the test and it says that I am on the verge of becoming a compulsive buyer and I must give it a thought.

    Can't thank you much, really. ANd yes, I also take a shopping list with me but yes, I end up not sticking to it a lot of times.

  2. @ Rati: I know what you mean. I was surfing the net yesterday when I came across this quiz.

    My results indicated that there is at least a moderate level of concern that I am engaging in compulsive shopping and buying habits. & tht set off my alarm bells ringing.

    I knew at a sub-conscious level that I was doing it. I further googled and came across some great tips I thought I wld share with you all :D.

  3. Useful information. Thanks for giving us this useful information. I have come some advice to about Budgeting. Thanks for sharing.....


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