Shopaholics: Five Common Traits of a Compulsive Shopper

The top five traits of a shopaholic are somewhat comedic when you consider this person shops for items that are of no use. This is a compulsive behavior attributed to 1 out of every 20 people. It is not limited to one gender, but affects men and women equally. The most famous stash is probably the clothes and shoes found in the closet of Imelda Marcos. Mary Todd Lincoln had over 84 pairs of gloves. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Princess Diana had huge wardrobes of clothes. William Randolph Hearst collected expensive and eccentric art, antiques, tile and stone.

Inner Self of the Shopaholic

The average person shops for items they need, except during festive seasons when they are buying gifts for others. Think of the shopaholic as an average shopper on steroids. Shopaholics are addicted to the rush they get from shopping. They need the same rush that a gambler gets when let loose in a casino, the rush of a drunk who cannot stay out of the local pub or the person who drops into every lottery station hoping for a miracle.

“Shop ‘til you drop” has a twisted meaning for the addicted shopper. This shopper will use any excuse to go on a spree. Finding cute knick-knacks helps cure depression. The thrill of the hunt justifies the need for adventure. Some shopaholics are obsessive-compulsive and concentrate on specific items like jewellery, shoes or hats punishing their poor old credit cards.

Compulsive shoppers are not living in denial – they are keenly aware of their binge shopping and they love it! A professor from the University of Iowa is a specialist in identifying and treating obsessive-compulsive behaviour insists that the binge shopper does not fit the pattern of compulsive behaviour. Shopaholics are reacting to impulses and are dealing with an impulse control disorder.

My List of the Top Five Traits of the Compulsive Shopper [in reverse order, of course]

  • #5. The shopaholic considers the buying experience to be a hobby.
  • #4. They have no idea that there is a difference between need and want.
  • #3. Compulsive shoppers are not window shoppers. They barge right into the store.
  • #2. The shopaholic disappears when bills for past purchases arrive in the mail.
  • #1. The binge shopper views The Shopping Network as a religious experience.

You Heard It at the Water Cooler

If 85% of shopaholics are women, then the other 15% must be men.

Of course, that number might be higher. Compulsive buyers have a double standard. Women are shopaholics, but men are collectors. Apparently, collectors are not shoppers … they are missionaries searching for a specific item. The fact that they purchase 10 versions of the item does not qualify as binge shopping.

Shopaholics and collectors have a chronic problem that is treatable, but there is no cure. Of course, these folks need to cooperate with the treatment. Compulsive buyers should seek the assistance of a qualified professional. This person knows the techniques that are useful to help subdue the impulse to shop.

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