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'Tis the Season for Shopaholics


As millions of people shop for the holidays, around five percent of them are actually in the throes of shopping addiction, claims a recent report. While the medical term is onmiomania, most people are more familiar with the word “shopaholic.” Exactly what constitutes a shopping addiction? Common characteristics involve buying unneeded items, shopping to the point of missing work, preoccupation with shopping during other activities, feeling guilty or ashamed after shopping, experiencing financial problems due to purchases and shopping despite jeopardizing a relationship.

What makes the omniomaniac go on a shopping spree? It often involves a poor ability to cope with stress, anger, anxiety or depression. The shopping and purchasing experience gives a brief “high” that is often followed by guilt or shame, with the cycle repeating itself frequently. Retail marketing strategies serve to reinforce the unhealthy behavior by claiming that buying things will make the purchaser happy. Physicians have traditionally had difficulty categorizing omniomania, but it is often considered an impulse control disorder.

While anyone can be a shopaholic, the typical victim is a female who began compulsively shopping in early adulthood. Those who recognize the symptoms of shopping addiction in themselves should seek professional help rather than trying to control it on their own. With help, the cycle can usually be broken, empowering the victim to return to fiscal responsibility and healthier coping mechanisms.

Read more: http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20101204/life/life1.html

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