Home Psychology Are You a Shopaholic? 5 Warning Signs If You Are Addicted

Are You a Shopaholic? 5 Warning Signs If You Are Addicted


Shopping is an essential aspect of life. It is how we get what we need for day-to-day use. Usually, it is a planned activity, although you may have occasional incidences of impulse buying. However, if impulsive shopping gets out of hand, it becomes a compulsive behavior.

What is the meaning of shopaholic? A shopaholic is a compulsive shopper. In medical terms, the compulsive disorder is also known as oniomania. Shopping addiction is also referred to as compulsive shopping, compulsive buying, compulsive buying disorder, or compulsive consumption.

According to The Recovery Village, 5% of the population in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada are shopping addicts. Surprisingly, women are more prone to be compulsive shoppers, with a prevalence of 92%. Online shopping addiction prevalence is similar to that of in-person shopping. It is an impulse control issue like gambling and binge eating.

Below are 5 signs of shopping addiction, including tips on how to stop shopping addiction.

1.    You Have Too Many Unopened Items

A shopaholic usually does not buy items because they need them. They often do it for the instant gratification of the purchase. Therefore, you end up with numerous unopened or tagged items. You may also develop hoarding tendencies, whereby the items are in closets, pantries, and storage. Chances are, you do not remember some of the items you bought.

If you often find yourself going on online shopping sprees, checking online reviews can help with your impulsive shopping. You may come across negative consumer reviews that discourage you from adding items to the cart.

For instance, eBay reviews on review websites such as Pissedconsumer.com indicate poor quality of some items, delivery delays, and missing orders, among other issues. Besides, it can be difficult to contact eBay customer service for assistance with an issue with your order.

2.    Stress Triggers You to Shop

Each purchase brings you an instant rush of excitement and euphoria. If you are feeling stressed or anxious, you may use shopping to comfort and numb your emotional pain.

3.    You Feel Shame and Guilt After Shopping

Shopping addiction has phases. It starts with anticipation when you get the urge to purchase certain items. You then start to window shop and research to identify items to buy. You then proceed to make the purchase. A phase that is filled with exhilaration.

A crush quickly follows the shopping experience. The excitement wears off, and you start to feel guilt, shame, frustration, and anxiety for making the purchase. Also, you might try to justify your purchases. The emotional discomfort triggers you to shop again as a coping mechanism, taking you right back to the beginning of the cycle.

4.    You Try to Be Secretive About Your Shopping Habits

If you hide when you are going to shop, receipts, and the items you buy to keep your loved ones from finding out, you may be addicted to shopping. For online shopping, you may notice that you like shopping anonymously. Therefore, you prefer to use the browser in incognito mode to hide your shopping history. 

5.    Your Shopping Habits Are Getting in the Way of Your Relationship and Daily Obligations

It could be that your friends and family criticize or call you out for excessive shopping. Or, you may be spending excessively, thus living paycheck to paycheck and failing to achieve your financial goals. In extreme cases, you may find that you do not have enough money for your essential expenditure leading to debt accumulation and difficulty paying the debts.

What to Do About It?

Shopping addiction is a compulsive disorder. Often, you buy things you do not need, spend more than you can afford, and may feel extremely agitated if you do not get the items you want.

Shopping addiction can adversely affect your life, including accruing large debts, difficulty paying them, guilt, shame, strained relationships with loved ones, and poor financial management.

Aside from checking online reviews, you can manage your shopping addiction by budgeting, tracking your expenditure, challenging yourself to wait longer before making a seemingly important purchase, and understanding your triggers.