Page 23 - magazine-jan-feb14

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From lipsticks to shoes,
Lucy Diamond from
Dubai says she just can’t get
enough of shopping and now
it’s not only causing her mental
anguish but left a huge debt
on her credit card that her
husband has to pay off.
“I have
always liked to shop but for
the past six months I began
buying shoes, makeup and
accessories compulsively.
It’s so bad that I actually start
the day planning which mall
to go to and what to buy but
always kept it a secret from
my husband and kids. In fact,
my husband never suspected
until he saw his credit card
statements. He said he was
more hurt than angry and told
me he felt betrayed…”
What It Means
While society often promotes the culture
of ‘shop till you drop’ with the easy
accessibility of online shopping, mall sales
and countless advertisements, shopping
can actually turn into a dangerous
addiction. According to Occupational
Therapist Priya Sridharan, the term
“retail therapy” has been used widely in
the media to describe people’s spending
habits similar to a medicine to help with
serious ailments such as depression and
anxiety. “However, there’s a difference
between ‘retail therapy’ and an addiction
to shopping or retail addiction,” she says
with the latter being a serious problem
which has been identified as ‘oniomania’
or compulsive shopping disorder.
And as is the case with most addictions,
the shopping triggers a sense of euphoria
and happiness within the individual, so
the person gets into a cycle of lows and
highs, where the lows will cause stress and
anxiety and the highs will create a sense
of wellbeing falsely built around the act
of buying. After the purchase, the person
may feel guilt, which leads to another
spending spree to battle the perceived
negative emotions.
Red Flags
Some of the signs of shopping addiction
include overspending. If you find that you
constantly overspend and take money
from your budgeted expenses to cover
a shopping excursion, than you may be
a victim of shopping addiction. Also if
you compulsively purchase items despite
a need to buy something or if you notice
that you buy eight pairs of shoes at a time
instead of just one, this could indicate
a problem. Also if you notice that you
are shopping chronically and you notice
that you don’t just overspend once in a
while, you may have a chronic shopping
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