But whatever relief it provides is very transient and typically followed by a resurgence of the feelings the behavior meant to overcome, with the added difficulties of any financial problems the excessive shopping may create.
A common scenario in which someone exhibits symptoms of or tendency to being a shopaholic is when a relationship ends; for example, the woman who goes out and buys an excessive amount of clothing after her boyfriend leaves her. Like Sederer indicates, the purchases are meant to temporarily relieve the pain of relationship loss.
For some experts, a person might become a shopaholic because they become the ‘center of attention’ in a store, where they are tended to continuously.
“Shopping addiction resembles drug, gambling or alcoholic addiction,” psychologist Nadezhda Yugrina told PRAVDA.Ru. “One should look for its reasons in the childhood of every particular individual. As a rule, such people suffered from the shortage of human care and tenderness when children. A person can grow in a normal family and receive good education, but experience a strong need in love. When such people grow up, they can find attention in various stores.”
Not all compulsive shopping associated with a shopaholic is related to childhood issues or a need to alleviate negative feelings, however. WebMD indicates some individuals may be genetically predisposed to addictive behaviors, which create a “feel good” chemical response in the brain. These addictive behaviors can express in different ways — drugs and alcohol, sex, food and shopping.“Individuals will get some kind of high from an addictive behavior like shopping,” said to WebMD, Ruth Engs, EdD, a professor of applied health science at Indiana University. “Meaning that endorphins and dopamine, naturally occurring opiate receptor sites in the brain, get switched on, and the person feels good, and if it feels good they are more likely to do it — it’s reinforced.”
Even still, there is another factor which may contribute to oniomania—the presence of another behavioral disorder. Individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), for example, are more likely than others to become shopaholics because impulsivity is a part of living with ADHD. This characteristic makes it difficult for these individuals to think of the consequences of over-spending at the time of purchase. Health Central explains individuals with ADHD can also suffer from anxiety and depression, which bring oniomania back to the category of other addictions and compulsions, which are performed to alleviate stress.
Unfortunately, shopaholics often experience guilt after they get home with their purchases. This can lead to more compulsive shopping, making the process cyclical.
“It is a vicious circle,” said Yugrina. “At first people go to a store and spend a lot of money there but then they suffer from the sense of guilt and go to a store to get rid of this feeling again. If a person wants to put an end to this permanent shopping, they are supposed to approach the issue as a problem and ask for psychological help.”