Shopping addiction

Shopping addiction: Is it a mental illness?

Pop culture has often trivialised shopping addiction. It’s been mocked, misunderstood or plagued with gender stereotypes. However, for many couples, it’s a harsh reality that can take a toll on their relationship. Psychiatrist Dr Sagar Mundada believes this happens as they are not aware that shopping addiction is a mental health disorder. Hence, the first step to getting help is becoming aware.

Understanding shopping addiction

Compulsive Buying Disorder (CBD) is also known as Oniomania or shopping addiction. It’s  a behavioural disorder, and is regarded as a mental health illness. It’s a compulsive urge to buy things or to make purchases on impulse. The individual also experiences a high similar to what a drug addict would experience. Hence, it’s considered an addiction that needs intervention.

Signs that indicate your partner needs help

Not all impulse purchases are a sign of a shopping addiction. Here’s what to look for.

  • Shopping is a way to cope with daily stress.
  • There’s a fixation with buying things you’ll do not  need.
  • He or she has been maxing out your credit cards, and you’ll are dealing with a mountain of debt.
  • Your partner is stealing cash or trying to hide purchases from you.
  • He or she feels guilty but cannot resist the urge to shop.
  • He or she has tried to stop purchasing things, but like any other addict finds it hard to resist the temptation to make another purchase.

If you find your partner identifies with a majority of these conditions, it’s time to seek professional help.

Signs that indicate your partner needs help

To overcome this addiction, you will have to draw lines when it comes to your finances. Discuss your spending situation with your partner, and share that you will be restricting access to a certain amount for daily expenses. Avoid giving your partner access to a credit card or a debit, which could tempt him or her to make an unnecessary purchase. Be supportive of your partner, understanding that they are not trying to punish you or get back at you. They are suffering from a mental health disorder that’s treatable.

Treatment and cure

Medication, counselling and therapy can help to treat a shopping addiction. The mental health expert will try to understand the triggers and behaviour patterns as that has an overall impact on this mental health disorder. The mental health professional will also make the patient aware of it, so that he or she becomes mindful about what triggers their shopping addiction.