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One of the biggest challenges we face as humans is breaking a behaviour. When you have a pattern that is negatively affecting your life, you may need help.

What is shopping addiction?

Shopping addiction, also known as compulsive buying or oniomania, is a problem behaviour in which an individual feels an irresistible urge to make purchases and spend money. This often is detrimental to their financial, social and personal lives. Compulsive buying goes beyond regular consumption and becomes a way of dealing with emotional concerns, stress or low self-esteem. It can lead to severe consequences in a person’s personal and professional life.

Is shopping addiction a diagnosis?

Shopping addiction is not formally recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). However, it is recognized by many as a real and often serious concern.

The symptoms of shopping addiction are similar to those seen in other use disorders, such as compulsive behaviour, continued involvement in harmful activities despite negative consequences, and a sense of loss of control. Help is available.

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Causes of shopping addiction

Shopping addiction is thought to be caused by a mixture of psychological, social and biological factors. It can include coping with negative emotions such as anxiety or depression, the influence of marketing and social pressure, and a possible biological predisposition to addictive behaviours.

Shopping addiction also has links to other mental health conditions. It can start as a coping mechanism for emotional pain, or as a way to achieve temporary happiness. Each case is unique and treatment is tailored to each individual.

Symptoms of shopping addiction

Although shopping addiction is not an official diagnosis, there are some characteristic features. These can include:

  1. An irresistible urge to shop: An overwhelming compulsion to buy things, even when there is no need or financial room for it.
  2. Emotional fulfillment: Shopping is used as a way to deal with negative emotions such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, or loneliness.
  3. Post-purchase guilt: After shopping, the individual may feel guilt, shame or regret. Despite this, the behaviour continues.
  4. Financial problems: Shopping continues despite financial difficulties.
  5. Conflicts in relationships: Shopping may lead to conflicts with family members or friends, often because of the financial consequences.
  6. Hiding the behaviour: The person may hide the purchases, the amount they spend, or the number of items purchased from loved ones.
  7. Emotional dependence: Shopping may produce euphoria or excitement, followed by an emotional ‘hangover’.

Help with shopping addiction

If you wonder whether you have a shopping addiction or are at risk of developing one, it is important to seek help. Otherwise, problems can develop and get worse over time.

Treatment for shopping addiction

Treatment may include therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help the individual understand and change their behaviour, and counselling to address any underlying mental health concerns. In some cases, medication to manage anxiety or depression may also be part of the treatment plan.

Treatment with CBT online

You can get therapy for shopping addiction online. At Lavendla, we have licensed psychologists and CBT therapists who can help you with treatment.

Book a meeting

Fill in the form, choose a counsellor and proceed to payment.

From conversation to understanding and change

Talk therapy is often the first step in seeking help. By working with a psychologist or therapist, you can begin to understand your symptoms and triggers, which is essential for long-term change.

When professional help is unavoidable

If your substance use or a certain activity is beginning to affect your work and personal life, seeking professional help is essential. It is never too late to break free from addiction. Help is available and support is just a click away. So if you or someone you love is struggling with these issues, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. For information about addiction services and facilities near you, call 211.

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12 common questions and answers about shopping addiction

What is shopping addiction?

Shopping addiction, also known as compulsive buying or oniomania, is a problem behaviour in which an individual feels an irresistible urge to make purchases and spend money.

Is shopping addiction a disease?

Shopping addiction is not formally recognized as a specific diagnosis in the major diagnostic manuals, but this does not mean that it is not a problem behaviour.

Can shopping addiction be cured?

All types of addiction can be treated, but it often requires care and support. It is possible to change your patterns and improve your quality of life.

What are the signs that I may have a shopping addiction?

Symptoms include an excessive compulsion to shop, obsessive thoughts about shopping, and loss of control resulting in negative feelings and consequences.

What are the risks of shopping addiction?

The potential risks range from problems with our physical and mental health, finances, and relationship problems. It is therefore advisable to seek help.

How can I help a family member with a shopping addiction?

The first step is to offer your support. Encourage them to seek professional help and stand by them during treatment. Seek out more information about shopping addiction, and if you are a partner, you may also want to consider accessing therapy for yourself.

What treatment options are available?

There are several different types of treatment such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Can you have another mental health problem at the same time as shopping addiction?

Shopping addiction can co-occur with other mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression.

What can be done in case of relapse?

Relapse can happen and it is important to seek help immediately. Relapse is not a sign of failure but it is important to act quickly to get back on track.

What resources are available?

In addition to our professional therapists and psychologists, there are many websites, books, and support groups that can offer additional information and support.

Can I be treated online?

Yes, our therapists and psychologists offer support sessions via video conferencing.

How important is the support system around a person with an addiction?

A support system is often crucial to successful recovery. This includes professional help with treatment and a good support system both emotionally and practically. It can help reduce the risk of relapse and help the person maintain a healthier lifestyle.

Treatment steps to improve quality of life

Treatment for a shopping addiction differs from person to person although they often follow a similar format. To help you understand what professional help to break a destructive behaviour might look like, we have listed examples of the different phases.

1. Evaluation and diagnosis

The first step is often a thorough evaluation by a licensed psychologist or qualified therapist.

2. Treatment planning

You and your therapist create a treatment plan, which often includes different treatment methods such as psychotherapy, drug treatment and sometimes even self-help groups.

3. Psychotherapeutic treatment

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is the most common method. It involves working with thoughts, feelings and behaviours related to the addiction. Relapse prevention is also usually part of the treatment. It may also include motivational interviewing.

4. Follow-up and Maintenance

Long-term treatment and follow-up are often necessary to prevent relapse. This may include regular meetings with healthcare providers and continued participation in support groups.

5. Lifestyle changes

Changes in lifestyle, including work, leisure and relationships, are often necessary to support long-term recovery.

    The first step to change

    Book a 20- or 45-minute session with a qualified coach, therapist, or psychologist today via our website booking form. If now isn’t the right time, remember that there is always an opportunity to come back when you are ready to make a change. Together we make the difficult easier.

    Lavendla – Making the difficult easier

    Written by Ellen Lindgren

    Licensed psychologist

    Ellen is a licensed psychologist and has experience mainly in clinical psychology where she has worked with various conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, crises and trauma in primary care and psychiatry. She has also worked with research while studying in the US and with affective disorders and insomnia at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.