narcissistic woman
Shopping Addiction Versus Holiday Sales

Have you started your holiday shopping yet? It’s that time of year, and if you’re like me you have either already started shopping or you’ve at least started getting a million emails, seeing the commercials and ads, and hearing the buzz all around about the amazing holiday sales you can’t miss!

Black Friday is no longer just the Friday after Thanksgiving. It’s November… all of November. This can be good for the over-planners and early shoppers like me, who would prefer to get their shopping done early and then enjoy the season. But, if you suffer from oniomania though, all this over stimulation is not good for you. 

What is Oniomania?

Oniomania is the technical term for the uncontrollable urge to buy things.

That’s right. There is a fancy word for shopping addiction. I think we’ve all been there at some point in time. For me, shoes are usually involved… and candles… and anything pumpkin spice!! And I absolutely adore this season and the excuse to splurge, however, for the estimated 6% of the U.S. population who have a diagnosable shopping addiction, the holidays can be tormenting.

Perhaps the worst part of a shopping addiction…

is that it can go unnoticed for years. Living under the guise of a fashionista, a generous gift giver, or someone who’s always prepared, a person who is addicted to shopping may not realize they have a problem until there is a financial burden or until something much deeper is uncovered, a need to fill a different type of void within themselves.

Like most addictions, a shopping addiction usually begins when something else is going wrong in one’s life. It can be depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Let me tell you the story about a woman. We’ll call her Trish. She was a single mom with a successful business.  Her teenage kids were getting to the age that they didn’t really need mom anymore. They did their own thing most of the time, leaving Trish home alone, nearly all of the time. Her business mostly ran itself. So, she didn’t need to go into the office.

shopping addictionTrish also had a traumatic past. Her parents had mistreated her. Her ex-husband had cheated on her. She didn’t have many real friends. She also had a history of using alcohol to cope. So, one day when the kids were all out doing their thing, she was feeling particularly lonely, bored, and a bit depressed. She poured herself a glass of wine and started shopping online. It started with pots and pans for the kitchen. They arrived the next day. They were so shiny and new, and they made her feel happy. The serotonin boost she felt from the moment the package arrived to opening the box and unpackaging her newly acquired items was just like doing drugs. Study after study shows that opening presents or even just watching someone else unboxing items is wildly popular for this same reason. That serotonin surge, the anticipation, the intrigue…and then the reveal, the payoff… it’s a huge rush and is even described as a similar “high” feeling as narcotics.

It’s not about the stuff.

Trish’s pots and pans were soon forgotten. They were shoved in a cabinet and never even used. It was not the thing she was after, it was the feeling, the anticipation. She quickly went online and ordered a pair of shoes, some new curtains, and a few gifts for her teenagers, of course paying for the expedited shipping. She was so excited when it all arrived. Quickly opening it all, ripping through the packaging and tossing aside each new item, then moving on to the next. This cycle continued for months until Trish realized that she’d spent tens of thousands of dollars and really didn’t have much to show for it. Her teenagers didn’t understand why she was buying them random gifts that they didn’t like or need. Her house was beginning to burst at the seams with stuff, most of it still with price tags, that she didn’t even use. She felt guilty and ashamed. Was she becoming a hoarder? Should she return some of it? Should she stop shopping? Was she going crazy? These thoughts swirled in her head leaving her feeling anxious and confused. So, instead of facing her fears, she did what she knew would make her happy again… she bought more stuff.

Possible Reasons for a Shopping Addiction

Trish’s case may sound like an extreme example, but it is all too real. Shopping addictions begin for many reasons. Loneliness and boredom, as in Trish’s case, is just one example. Others may fall into their shopping addiction for reasons like:

  • Money is tight and they find a bargain so they “have to buy”
  • Collectors who feel the need to complete their collection
  • Flashy shoppers who always need to have the biggest and best
  • Compulsive shoppers who buy to fill an emotional void (like Trish)

Shopping is not a bad thing.

As with anything, in moderation, it can be a good thing. There’s a fine line between genuinely enjoying shopping and having a shopping addiction. Someone who genuinely enjoys shopping will be aware of their shopping habits. They’ll also put their purchases to good use. They’ll remain cognizant of when they start buying too much. They plan their spending and stick to it. But as we head into the holiday season, when shopping is not only encouraged, but also pushed on us from every angle, those who suffer from any sort of a shopping addiction are most at risk, and they likely don’t even know it.

Some shopping addiction signs to look out for are:

  • Shopping causing a financial burden – Obviously this is the first thing to watch for shopping addiction counseling scottsdalewhen it comes to shopping. We think that as responsible adults, we’ll all be cognizant of how our money is spent. Sometimes that’s just not the case. If you, or someone you know, may have a problem, try setting spending limits for gifts. There is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to not spending extravagantly on holiday gifts. In fact, many appreciate it, as most people aren’t able to match the same extravagant spending.
  • Shopping causing a burden on relationships – Your friends and family notice more than you think. Have you been staring at your phone for hours? Are you on a first name basis with the UPS man? Have you spent hours away from home at the mall? If your friends or family have made passive jokes about your shopping habits, there is a good chance there was more to it than just a joke.
  • Shopping to feel better – Are you shopping to avoid negative emotions? Does shopping make you feel better about your life or circumstances? Take some time to examine how you would spend your time if you weren’t shopping.
  • Shopping for things you don’t need or want – If you’re buying things just to buy them and they wind up collecting dust once you’ve opened them, there’s a good chance they should have never been purchased to begin with. Ask yourself why you bought it in the first place. How were you feeling? How did buying it make you feel? How would you feel if you didn’t now own that thing?

If any of these describe you, or someone you know, please don’t hesitate to reach out. The holidays are hard enough, especially this year after so much loss in the past year and a half. You don’t have to struggle in silence any longer – we’re here for you!

Sending you light and love,
Claire & The Claibourne Team

~ You are worthy. You are capable. You are enough! ~

Claibourne Counseling Scottsdale

That’s right. There is a fancy word for shopping addiction. I think we’ve all been there at some point in time. For me, shoes are usually involved… and candles… and anything pumpkin spice!! And I absolutely adore this season and the excuse to splurge, however, for the estimated 6% of the U.S. population who have a diagnosable shopping addiction, the holidays can be tormenting.

Perhaps the worst part of a shopping addiction…

is that it can go unnoticed for years. Living under the guise of a fashionista, a generous gift giver, or someone who’s always prepared, a person who is addicted to shopping may not realize they have a problem until there is a financial burden or until something much deeper is uncovered, a need to fill a different type of void within themselves.

Like most addictions, a shopping addiction usually begins when something else is going wrong in one’s life. It can be depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Let me tell you the story about a woman. We’ll call her Trish. She was a single mom with a successful business.  Her teenage kids were getting to the age that they didn’t really need mom anymore. They did their own thing most of the time, leaving Trish home alone, nearly all of the time. Her business mostly ran itself. So, she didn’t need to go into the office.

shopping addiction

Trish also had a traumatic past. Her parents had mistreated her. Her ex-husband had cheated on her. She didn’t have many real friends. She also had a history of using alcohol to cope. So, one day when the kids were all out doing their thing, she was feeling particularly lonely, bored, and a bit depressed. She poured herself a glass of wine and started shopping online. It started with pots and pans for the kitchen. They arrived the next day. They were so shiny and new, and they made her feel happy. The serotonin boost she felt from the moment the package arrived to opening the box and unpackaging her newly acquired items was just like doing drugs. Study after study shows that opening presents or even just watching someone else unboxing items is wildly popular for this same reason. That serotonin surge, the anticipation, the intrigue…and then the reveal, the payoff… it’s a huge rush and is even described as a similar “high” feeling as narcotics.

It’s not about the stuff.

Trish’s pots and pans were soon forgotten. They were shoved in a cabinet and never even used. It was not the thing she was after, it was the feeling, the anticipation. She quickly went online and ordered a pair of shoes, some new curtains, and a few gifts for her teenagers, of course paying for the expedited shipping. She was so excited when it all arrived. Quickly opening it all, ripping through the packaging and tossing aside each new item, then moving on to the next. This cycle continued for months until Trish realized that she’d spent tens of thousands of dollars and really didn’t have much to show for it. Her teenagers didn’t understand why she was buying them random gifts that they didn’t like or need. Her house was beginning to burst at the seams with stuff, most of it still with price tags, that she didn’t even use. She felt guilty and ashamed. Was she becoming a hoarder? Should she return some of it? Should she stop shopping? Was she going crazy? These thoughts swirled in her head leaving her feeling anxious and confused. So, instead of facing her fears, she did what she knew would make her happy again… she bought more stuff.

Possible Reasons for a Shopping Addiction

Trish’s case may sound like an extreme example, but it is all too real. Shopping addictions begin for many reasons. Loneliness and boredom, as in Trish’s case, is just one example. Others may fall into their shopping addiction for reasons like:

  • Money is tight and they find a bargain so they “have to buy”
  • Collectors who feel the need to complete their collection
  • Flashy shoppers who always need to have the biggest and best
  • Compulsive shoppers who buy to fill an emotional void (like Trish)

Shopping is not a bad thing.

As with anything, in moderation, it can be a good thing. There’s a fine line between genuinely enjoying shopping and having a shopping addiction. Someone who genuinely enjoys shopping will be aware of their shopping habits. They’ll also put their purchases to good use. They’ll remain cognizant of when they start buying too much. They plan their spending and stick to it. But as we head into the holiday season, when shopping is not only encouraged, but also pushed on us from every angle, those who suffer from any sort of a shopping addiction are most at risk, and they likely don’t even know it.

Some shopping addiction signs to look out for are:

  • Shopping causing a financial burden – Obviously this is the first thing to watch for when it comes to shopping. We think that as responsible adults, we’ll all be cognizant of how our money is spent. Sometimes that’s just not the case. If you, or someone you know, may have a problem, try setting spending limits for gifts. There is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to not spending extravagantly on holiday gifts. In fact, many appreciate it, as most people aren’t able to match the same extravagant spending.
shopping addiction counseling scottsdale
  • Shopping causing a burden on relationships – Your friends and family notice more than you think. Have you been staring at your phone for hours? Are you on a first name basis with the UPS man? Have you spent hours away from home at the mall? If your friends or family have made passive jokes about your shopping habits, there is a good chance there was more to it than just a joke.
  • Shopping to feel better – Are you shopping to avoid negative emotions? Does shopping make you feel better about your life or circumstances? Take some time to examine how you would spend your time if you weren’t shopping.
  • Shopping for things you don’t need or want – If you’re buying things just to buy them and they wind up collecting dust once you’ve opened them, there’s a good chance they should have never been purchased to begin with. Ask yourself why you bought it in the first place. How were you feeling? How did buying it make you feel? How would you feel if you didn’t now own that thing?

If any of these describe you, or someone you know, please don’t hesitate to reach out. The holidays are hard enough, especially this year after so much loss in the past year and a half. You don’t have to struggle in silence any longer – we’re here for you!

Sending you light and love,
Claire & The Claibourne Team

~ You are worthy. You are capable. You are enough! ~

Claibourne Counseling Scottsdale