Excessive Shopping Could Signal Illness- Mental Health Experts

Shopping Madness
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Most of us like a good day out shopping for clothes or almost anything else…

Considered therapeutic by many compulsive shoppers, this penchant for binge shopping could lead to psychological disorders say mental health professionals. 

Mental health experts from across the globe believe, excessive or addictive levels of shopping should be recognized as a mental illness. Only then can work be done towards remission treatment.

Otherwise known as ‘Oniomania’ or ‘Compulsive Buying Disorder’, this excessive spending condition is often associated with serious psychological, social, impulse-control, or mood disorders coupled with financial problems.

A recent study conducted by Hannover Medical School, reveales that up to 7 per cent of adults display some form of compulsive buying issues, with numbers in America and Europe rising in the past two decades.

Doctors also suggested that addiction to shopping can be a serious and destructive behavioral health addiction.

According to reports, Professor Astrid Muller, a clinical psychologist at Hannover Medical School, Germany, said, ‘It’s time to recognise compulsive shopping disorder as a separate mental health condition, which will help us develop better treatments and diagnosis methods.’

Research has suggested that up to six per cent of the population (six in ten patients are women) may suffer from ‘an uncontrollable desire to shop and spend money’.

Reports also suggested that addiction to digital and video gaming has also been classified as a mental health disorder by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in its new International Classification of Diseases.

Compulsive buying, obsession for shopping, or the urge to buy atleast one product is often irresistible and ends up with senseless spending.

From the eight compulsive shoppers Pune365 spoke to, five of them confessed to developing an urge and compulsion to buy at least one new product online, or from a store. The anxiety eases off only after they purchase an item.

“For me, shopping is like therapy,” says 26-year-old blogger, Shreya Kumar. “It is because of this urge that I decided to make it a profession and hence started lifestyle blogging.

I often have this anxiety to buy something when I am not doing much, or am sad, alone or even happy.

The product could be anything, ranging from a stationery item, a clothing item, shoes or even a tumbler. Going home with a new product often gives me satisfaction even though I might have the same or similar product already at home.  This need started up only when I had the capability to buy things on my own,” Shreya adds.

For this entrepreneur, owning the latest brands and dressing up often to meet his clients leads him to shopping at frequent intervals.

“Over time I have started following different Indian and foreign brands to look for their new releases and their availability at stores or online,” says Manoranjan Parekh.

“I meet various people from different background every day hence the pressure to look appealing is always there. Moreover, I rarely shop for non-branded items since childhood, hence often my spending exceeds my account balance, and that is when credit cards come for my rescue.”

“Since I live alone here in Pune and earn quiet decently, I mainly spend my income on either travelling or shopping for unusual and quirky stuff.

I often buy a product because they look attractive and are cute,” shares Pratibha Anand.

“Online shopping sites are the places from where I shop a lot. I have around eight shopping applications on my phone. I continuously keep getting these messages for different offers and when I do not have much to do, I end up shopping from them.

It is only when I want to dress up and eat good food I go out and shop at stores,” adds Pratibha.


#All views expressed are those of the respondants and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them. Some names changed on request. First published in August 2018

Loveleen Kaur

Loveleen Kaur

She loves travelling, dogs, sarcasm, humour and anything that spells F O O D, in that order. A writer on a journey to make positive stories a morning ritual and give society what it needs the most - optimism !!

Reach her at loveleen@pune365.com or tweet @KaurKaur18
Loveleen Kaur