In recent years, the talk about the need to make more conscious purchases has become essential. But putting it into practice is more difficult than you think. It is well known that we must meditate more when making a decision and bet on less quantity but higher quality. There is still a fine line that separates unconscious buying from impulsive or even compulsive purchases.

The latter is characterized by the acquisition of objects or goods that does not result from previous planning, but rather from a need for immediate gratification, that is, impulse.

However, shopalcoholics often feel euphoria after making a purchase. And once the item is in your possession, the euphoria subsides and the depression or emptiness returns.

There are some differences between therapists, researchers, and psychologists as to whether or not shopping addiction is a real addiction. Shopping addiction is rarely taken seriously, or like addictions to substances such as alcohol and drugs or other behavioral addictions (compulsive gambling).

It is important to maintain a difference between the action of compulsive buying, which can appear on time and without major repercussions; and a pathological shopping problem, when this same behavior occurs more frequently and seriously. Thus causing devastating effects on the person who suffers it and their environment. It is very frequent in the consumer society that characterizes the contemporaneity that users settle in a ‘buyer’ operating mode. Everything is there at hand to be purchased. The objects are permanently advertised and sold as if they were necessary. In addition to the large and striking buildings dedicated to consumption. Today the market on the internet is gigantic, you can get anything without leaving your home. Purchases and buyers with greater and lesser degrees of pathology multiply in each case. The functioning that has been normalized becomes invisible in the great global market and only in some cases does it take the consistency of true addiction. Some people can’t stop shopping, they can’t stop thinking before they act. And the purchase is imposed on them. For these people, something simple like walking down the street and passing in front of a store or surfing the internet becomes a shopping opportunity. They can buy the same product in different colors. They fail to establish a limit and overflow with anguish in the face of the impossibility of having that object.

Buying is a common and daily activity in these people, but sometimes, when it is done without control and need, it becomes a problem.

According to a study carried out in Barcelona by the Bellvitge hospital, 8 out of 10 people can suffer from this disorder and it is more likely that they are women.

The problem may have two aspects:

  1. The person can experience great pleasure while shopping, it releases a discharge of dopamine and endorphins (the same substances that the brain releases when we eat chocolate or have sex).

  2. On the other hand, the person may experience psychological or physical discomfort for not buying and that can only be alleviated with the purchase.

It is a formal addiction that is known as oniomania. Looking for the sensation of pleasure in shopping, they want to compensate for unpleasant sensations of daily life. Just like the person who goes to the fridge and binges on food.

When does overselling become a mess?

International psychology experts have created a framework for diagnosing compulsive buying disorder that promises to help people struggling to control their behavior and their mental well-being.

Guidelines recently published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions have confirmed that excessive shopping can be just as serious as to constitute a disorder.

Uncontrolled or excessive shopping disorder has been described in a clinical setting for decades. It is surprising that to date there is no formally accepted diagnosis. Despite being a highly prevalent, disabling, and growing problem.

People who develop excessive buying behavior often have a hard time regulating their emotions. So buying is used to feel better.

Previously, it was very difficult to examine a compulsive buying disorder with greater precision, but today a disorder like this can be treated.

Read more