Can’t resist the online sales? Your desire to shop can be stopped; let’s discuss how you can go about making some positive changes to curb your addiction.
Many of us might joke about our shopping addictions or be quick to call someone that we know a “shopaholic”.
I often discuss this topic with people that don’t seem to grasp the seriousness of this addiction.
To the truly afflicted though, that try to hide their compulsion, the issue is no laughing matter.
Oniomania is the technical/psychological term for the excessive compulsive desire to shop. Such manifests itself as a preoccupation with buying and engaging in shopping activities despite the negative consequences and repercussions thereof. “Shopping addicts” are no different from any other put of addicts in that they experience extreme highs followed by severe lows; feelings of depression, anger, stress, resentment, disappointment and guilt.
Like any addiction, being a shopaholic is a dangerous threat to a person’s physical and emotional health, personal relationships, financial status and professional life if left untreated.
The Oniomania condition was first described over a century ago, but there was very little interest in exploring it further. Why should it? Consumerism loves a shopaholic.
Only in the last decade has the condition become more recognized and monitored, due to the boom of the internet of course and the availability to shop online, there is growing evidence that more people are being affected by the addiction.
The rise of e-commerce sites, online auctions, deal-a-day sites, and readily available lines of credit have made online shopping a compulsive and especially dangerous habit forming experience for many consumers.
Online shopping is an anonymous experience, nobody physically sees you browsing and handing over cash, so it’s easy to feel like you aren’t really spending money…especially when you’re charging it to your credit card.
If you are struggling with Oniomania or a online shopping compulsion, here are some tips to help combat the problem:
Promotional emails, unsubscribe
When you get a promotional email, don’t even click on “display the images” icon. What you do is go straight to the “unsubscribe” link within the message. Don’t even bother to mark these emails as “spam” or “trash”, that won’t stop them from keep coming in. Unsubscribe from every single promotional email you receive, especially coupon, daily sale and auction sites, which are by far some of the most addictive shopping sites.
Block access to your favourite internet sites
You can restrict your computer from accessing certain sites, by blocking them on your preferred browser. You can go through the entire operating system or network router, or you can use web-filtering software to automatically block them for you. A service like k9 Web Protection acts as a “bouncer” between your computer and the Internet; it completely blocks you from accessing certain sites. You pick which kind of sites you want to block (shopping for example), and get a friend to choose the password so you can’t/won’t be tempted, or able for that matter, to disable it.
Make sure you also clear your cookies and web history cache regularly to avoid falling victim to retargeting advertisements. This is where retailers follow your online behaviour and continuously serve up ads promoting their products.
Delete all of your shopping apps from your mobile devices
I can’t stress how dangerous shopping apps are for all consumers – not just addicts. Just visit Google Play Store and read the reviews on the most popular shopping apps.
You’ll see scary testimonials like, “My online shopping addictions are totally optimized by this app,” and “I’m starting to think convenience is contributing to my shopping addiction.”
And that’s exactly right, shopping apps are designed to make it extremely convenient to spend money online. That’s why stores spending hundreds of thousands developing the perfect shopping app. There is little opportunity for consumers to contemplate purchases, “should I shouldn’t I?” and the trigger for the addiction is right at your fingertips.
It just takes one or two clicks to complete a sale. Delete any and all shopping apps from your devices, you don’t need them.
Reprogram your brain
Retail therapy is a very real thing; overseas studies have shown that going shopping and choosing to buy something actually reduces sadness in people. Have you never bought a new watch or jacket and thought good about how awesome it’s going to make you look? Remember that happy feeling that you got?
Instead of relying on retail therapy to make you feel better, train your brain to seek out a different experience. What emotion or emotions is driving your compulsion? Are you feeling sad, depressed or out of control? Or are you just looking for a thrill? Identify the negative feeling, where is this coming from? And look for an alternative more healthy solution.
Experts and recovering addicts recommend self-soothing techniques such as exercising, calling a friend, writing, start studying again to occupy your mind, surround yourself with positive messages and inspiring people, the key is to repeating positive affirmations.
Like any other addiction, Oniomania can be managed successfully with treatment, therapy and support groups. Surround yourself with people who can relate to your experience and provide guidance and positive support. Also get involved with helping others as a way to keep yourself accountable and committed to the road to recovery.
It’s not a sign of weakness realizing that you need help; it’s a sign of strength knowing that you do. So don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for it if you’re struggling, consult with your doctor who may be able to refer you to someone who can help, or a therapist whose professional assistance can guide you.
Therefore OUDS is willing to assist consumers in this predicament with a free service of a financial assessment, assist the consumer to organise an affordable, realistic and structured monthly budget and debt management plan thereby providing consumers with a guideline for eliminating and remaining out of debt.