Recognizing the Early Signs of Online Shopping Addiction—Part 1

Online Shopping Addiction

You may have heard of compulsive buying disorder.

Also sometimes known as oniomania, this particular disorder entails compulsive buying that comes with an uncontrollable urge, resulting in excessive spending and ending with negative feelings about oneself. This is a serious situation that affects one’s life and overall wellbeing.

This is no cutesy retail therapy we’re talking about either where you validating yourself with a day’s worth of shopping is a one-time occurrence. On the contrary, this is impulse pathology akin to gambling, binge eating and even alcoholism.

What Happens in Compulsive Buying Disorder?

Basically, people with CPD can’t think before they buy something. The urge, the impulse to purchase something, no matter how inconsequential, is so strong that they are unable to stop themselves. Often, this ends with them feeling horrible about themselves or the amount of money they have ended up spending. However, while they are shopping, they feel lifted up, their spirits are temporarily high… they may even feel a sense of strange euphoria over their purchase. The reason they shop is to satisfy emotional gaps that may have settled in due to anxiety, depression or sometimes even loneliness. But the “pick me up” so to speak is quite temporary because as soon as the urge subsides, it is followed by guilt, low self-esteem or anger. A person suffering from CBD finds themselves in this vicious cycle over and over again.

Here’s a quick infographic to help you understand CBD in a nutshell:

online shopping info 1

Now that Online Shopping Exists

Imagine what the proliferation of online shopping would do to a person with CBD. Where before their impulsive retail therapy behavior may have been momentarily subsided in the confinement of their homes, that sense of security is now gone. How can they hold onto their compulsions when purchases can be made at the click of a button?

Before, what you bought was limited by where you were. Obsessively buying scarves you would not wear would end at Forever 21, candles you will never burn would’ve ended at Walmart. Now there’s Amazon, where everything money can buy exists on a singular platform. Imagine what that does to a person who is already struggling with their purchasing behaviors.

Signs of an Online Shopping Addict

Let’s talk about signs.

How can you tell if you or someone you love is addicted to online shopping? This doesn’t seem like something that would appear on the outset. So, what can you do to recognize symptoms early on?

There are a few things you need to look out for:

  • People that tend to shop online are not very sociable. They try to avoid social interaction where they can. Of course, there are exceptions, but online shoppers like the anonymity that comes with shopping at home.
  • The compulsion to buy can be all-encompassing where one does not realize why they are spending… just that they have They may get online and buy useless things they don’t even need to feel validated for the time being.
  • These people often find themselves in heavy debt or lagging behind in paying back their credit card bills.
  • They probably think about shopping online when they are not.

So, now that you know how to spot an online shopping addict, you would want to know what you can do about it. We’re going to cover it in the next blog, so stay tuned!

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