Shopaholic Syndrome


Heer Kothari explores the nuances of a shopaholic and how one can cure themselves of such a psychological disorder.

In life everyone finds themselves in a certain phase where we seem stuck on the second gear. Nothing inches forward, and the wait to progress is endless. During such times we hook ourselves to ‘hobbies’, or anything that can elevate the spirit. So what is the immediate indulgent that crosses ones mind at such times? Has shopping just occurred to you? Well honestly, shopping does occur to me in my down times!

‘Retail therapy’, as it is colloquially termed, serves as a satiating experience to most during ones down time. It is believed that the activity of shopping releases ‘happy hormones’ such as endorphins and dopamine. The release of these hormones kicks an individual giving them the happy high, but the effects of this release is short-lived. However what an individual gets actually hooked to is the effect, which leaves a lasting imprint on ones mind. This in turn urges one to go back for some more needless purchases, making one a shopaholic. One may not have an iota of how they have been inflicted by the deadly disease of being a Shopaholic. The process is as slow as consuming slow poison.
There is no stringent definition of a shopaholic, but it can loosely be defined as ‘A person, who when emotionally overwhelmed, purchases unnecessarily, and may not have the finances to cope with the debt later. Being a shopaholic may hamper relationships, and could drain you emotionally, rather than physically. ’
Initially it was believed that only women suffer from the compulsive buying disorder, but that indeed is a myth. The disorder is blind to age, income group, race, and most importantly, gender. In fact men too pander about in this indulgent addiction.

Rebecca Bloomwood faces the exacting predicament in the flick ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic.’ In the film, Rebecca, has a fetish for branded clothes, shoes, and all the other pretty things a mall has to offer!
* Rebecca Bloomwood’s credit cards are full to the brim and we see that she has hidden her credit cards in order to keep from spending.
* When she is emotionally overwhelmed she finds all her cards and shops to her satisfaction till she drops.
* She incessantly lies to her best friend and her co-workers about her spending habit.
* But to make the plot even more juicer and matters worse for the protagonist, she loses her job, has to keep with the mounting credit card bills and at the same time there is romance brewing on the horizon. (A leak of this weakness would keep the handsome man away from the protagonist), small lies leads to even more lies.

* There are the Collectors. The collectors will go hunting to any extent to complete a certain collection. It could be a part of the collection. Sometimes this also means collecting one product in numerous colours. For a collector it is imperative to stock on every colour even if they don’t like it.
* If you are smitten by the addiction to bargain then of course you are the bargain seeker. This would mean buying something unnecessarily because you have managed to bargain to your satisfaction.
* Every perfectionist isn’t a Virgo, but sometimes they are Trophy shopaholics, who keep shopping till they find just the right thing to stock on.
* If you are caught in the vicious cycle of buying and returning the purchase then you are the bulimic shopaholic.
* If it becomes even more than necessary to indulge in some retail therapy when you are sad or depressed, that makes one a compulsive shopaholic.

There is no drastic cure for a shopaholic. Shopaholics are encouraged to talk to like-minded people and resist the urge of shopping. This can prove to become very compelling at times. This is because if you keep holding on against your wishes you may dirty what you have taken so long to clean up. As far as medication is concerned, there is no medication to cure a shopaholic, but one must understand that a person becomes a shopaholic out of extreme depression or however doctors do prescribe relaxants and anti-depressants (simply because chronic shopaholics generally shop when they are depressed). However one should only consume the same after the doctor has clinically prescribed the tablets.
Yet another medical alternative involves the consumption of pills that are generally prescribed to an Alzheimer’s patient. This indeed can become very risky, as this is done, when psychologically the patient has hit a fearful pitch.
Yet another cure for this disease is by rendering undying love and care to the patient suffering from Compulsive shopping disorder (CSD). If family members of the patient lend a patient ear to understand the problem of their loved ones, it simply solves the bedrock of a problem. Also as kith and kin one must encourage their member to work hard and earn in order to pay off the debt. Using this method, the patient will understand that money that was so easily blown away was achieved with a dint of hard work. But care must be taken that one doesn’t give up on the patient easily.

Taking the medication is not always advisable, unless the depression is severe. Also taking medication has some extreme side effects like bursting into unwanted cold sweats, insomnia, nausea, feeing anxiety, unwanted headaches, and last but not the least fatigue.
As I key off I would only like to state that it is essential to not only care about your physical health but also care about your mental health. One must change the way they perceive life in order to live a quality life. Solving puzzles and crosswords are good exercises for an individual’s mental health. It doesn’t only help an individual snap out of their routine problems but it also helps them think of their own problem more analytically and solve the same with ease. One must also note that a person suffering from the consumer buying disorder may not necessarily be doing any physical damage, but the emotional damage is colossal and hard to overcome too.


Volume 5 Issue 10


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