Stop Compulsive Shopping

Oniomania or compulsive buying disorder (CBD) has been around a long time - it was originally defined as a psychiatric disorder at the start of the twentieth century.

Since then, as a result of our increasingly consumer driven times, it has been very much on the increase. Indeed recent studies have suggested that in the US, almost 6% of the population struggle with compulsive buying disorder or an addiction to shopping.

The reason for this increase probably lies in the fact that consumerism has almost become a measure of our social worth and is probably the most socially reinforced behavioural addiction there is. Unlike other forms of addiction such as smoking, drinking or gambling where general advertising has been curtailed, we are continually bombarded with messages about how all sorts of consumer goods are going to make us feel happier or somehow more complete. It should not be a surprise therefore that people are increasingly turning to shopping as means to change the way they feel.

And don't be fooled into thinking that compulsive shopping is any less disruptive or dangerous than other addictive or compulsive behaviours, because it is not. The consequences of shopping compulsively can be severe - in most cases resulting in the kind of financial hardship that leads to extreme levels of stress and anxiety, break-up of relationships and families and in certain cases, even crime. We live in a world where most people spend beyond their means, but a compulsion to shopping will take this to an entirely different level where the sufferer is digging a very financial deep whole from which they may never recover.

As with other forms of compulsive behaviour, compulsive shoppers use shopping as a means of escaping negative feelings, such as depression, anxiety, low self esteem or even boredom - they use shopping as a way to suppress uncomfortable or difficult emotions. The pleasure of buying the new luxury item provides a short term relief from their emotional status quo, however this relief is short-lived because the feelings of pleasure are quickly replaced by more negative emotions of anxiety, guilt, shame or even fear when the reality of their financial problems set in.

Sufferers are preoccupied with the shopping itself and it becomes increasingly excessive, inappropriate and uncontrolled. And as with other addictions or compulsions, an addiction to shopping is highly ritualised and follows a typically addictive pattern of thoughts, feelings and behaviours around planning, browsing and ultimately buying.

Window shopping is rarely enough - people struggling with a compulsion to shop often describe an increasing level of anxiety that can only be calmed when with a sense of completion when a purchase is finally made. Finally, the shopper crashes, with feelings of disappointment, particularly with the him/herself.

The purchases are often simply hoarded unused, and compulsive shoppers will then begin to plan the next spending spree as a means to again change the way they feel . And so the cycle continues as their financial woes increase.

As with many forms of addiction, sufferers tend to hide their behaviours from family and friends and because this form of addiction is not widely recognised, it can be difficult for people struggling with addictive shopping disorders to know where to turn for help.

At The Therapy Lounge, we use a combination of Advanced Hypnotherapy, Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and the principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help you to identify and treat the route cause of your addiction and at the same time, to retrain both the conscious and unconscious parts of the mind. So after just a few sessions at Therapy Lounge, that thing that has had so much control over you will easily and comfortably become a thing of the past.

So if your are interested in overcoming you shopping addiction, call The Therapy Lounge now on 020 3131 0194 or complete the Quick Enquiry Form on the right hand side of this page. We really can help!

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