30% of young people suffer from oniomania, addiction to compulsive shopping. 5 tips for shopping with a conscience

  • When shopping doesn’t bring happiness: 7% of the world’s population suffers from oniomania. Online consumption has led to a 16% increase in compulsive shopping.
  • Black Friday VS No Shopping Day: shopping with conscience increases, in which the Slow concept appears as a new concept of consumption.
  • Dr. Sandra Farrera gives 5 tips to control compulsive shopping and approach consumption with awareness.

Barcelona, October 28, 2020.- The Black Friday commercial actions are the starting signal for the biggest consumption season of the year, a period that continues during the Christmas period until after the winter sales. In Western society, the possession of material things and the latest generation, as well as physical appearance, continue to be aspects that are very much taken into account, which can lead to the exaggerated purchase of objects that are not essential or even to an addiction to compulsive shopping or oniomania in some people.

According to data provided by the experts of the Top Doctors platform, the number of people suffering from oniomania is around 7% of the population. This problem is aggravated among young people, affecting up to 30% of them because they are a public more vulnerable to advertising and content social networks. “Currently, Internet consumption facilitates the proliferation of this disorder and increases compulsive shopping by 16%, which is worrying. Payment by card, paypal, bizum and other online services facilitate spending and generate immediate gratification, which leads them to be less aware of the expense they are making and to an increase in this disorder among this type of consumer,” explains Lina Romillo, a health psychologist and member of Top Doctors. “We are led to believe that consumption brings happiness, and now consumption is more accessible than ever to people of any age,” she adds.

Anxiety, frustration and lack of self-control lead to consumption that generates feelings of guilt and depression.

The act of buying provokes pleasant, pleasurable and happy feelings among consumers. However, this act can have opposite effects on those who have difficulty finding pleasure in other areas of life. “The profile of the compulsive shopper may present anxious symptoms, low mood, poor self-control and low frustration tolerance. Certain pathologies, such as bipolar disorder (especially in the manic phase) or borderline personality disorder, often suffer from oniomania,” explains Dr. Sandra Farrera, specialist, CEO in Clinical Psychology at the Centro PsicologíaBcn and member of Top Doctors. “Dopamine, a neurohormone that transmits impulsivity and the need for immediate reward, which therefore causes loss of control, has an influence when it comes to buying. Those who suffer from compulsive shopping addiction, after purchasing the product, often feel guilty and depressed. They only ask for help when reality imposes itself on them, either because of debts or because they are affected in other areas of their lives”.

The Slow movement is consolidating as a new concept of consumption, with more awareness and values.

The dark side of consumerism is becoming increasingly visible, which has led to the parallel development of a trend in favor of conscious shopping, to curb the increase in compulsive shopping, protect small businesses, and also take care of the environment. Organizations such as Ecologists in Action have called on citizens to start defining the last Friday of November, known as Black Friday, as “World No Shopping Day”.

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Through initiatives like this, the ‘Slow’ current, encourages the population to make purchases only by necessity, and in local businesses and local stores, or to recycle clothes and items, promoting values away from consumerism. This is something that health professionals are already beginning to observe in their patients and in the population in general. “Both in the office and in the street, we have observed a decrease in consumerism for the sake of consumerism. Conscious shopping and the slow fashion trend, for example, make many consumers think before buying, make a purchase thinking about a long-lasting product, knowing the place of origin, the production method, materials, etc.” explains Lina Romillo, health psychologist and member of Top Doctors.

Five clinical tips to curb compulsive purchases

Top Doctors.es experts foresee a decrease in consumption due to the economic uncertainty caused by the COVID crisis, however, Dr. Sandra Farrera, clinical psychologist and member of Top Doctors, offers below a series of professional tips to support the promotion of conscious shopping during Black Friday and during the Christmas period.

  • Faced with the avalanche of messages inciting consumption, the first thing shoppers should ask themselves is: could I live without it? And, above all, how will you feel five days from now if that product is purchased? It is very important to base purchases on the control of the action, of the expense and therefore of one’s own life.
  • Apply the 10-minute technique. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter of immediacy, but it is reduced after 10 minutes, and therefore the immediate reward mechanisms give rise to the control of that action and to be able to discern more calmly whether the purchase is necessary or not.
  • Another thought to consider is what you could do with that money if you save it for another purpose. This way you become aware of the “needs” you may have, and therefore where to derive the expenses.
  • You are NOT being sold, YOU are buying. It is important not to fall into the temptation of all the advertising and commercial messages you receive. It is important to buy not to satisfy anxiety, impulse or low mood, but because the item is really necessary.
  • And think how good it feels to be in control of shopping, spending and mostly in control of life.

*Contributing experts: