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Compulsive shopping disorder is a behavior that is characterized by an irresistible urge to shop which has dire consequences. It has been described as a pattern of chronic and repetitive purchasing that proves difficult to stop and has harmful consequences. The person will become dependent on the behavior as a way of repressing negative feelings, which may be causing discomfort. Researches carried out in the United States have shown that 80% of the affected are females (Aboujaoude and Koran 23). It has also showed that this disorder does not affect those that spend beyond their means, but also those people who spend large amounts of time doing so. Women use it as a mood enhancing mechanism. There are people with a shopping disorder whereby they shop till their credit cards run out to the limit.

Some people become addictive to shopping, because it makes them feel better when they face challenges in life. They feel an irresistible urge to engage in this behavior, which would have serious ramifications if not stopped. It is similar to other addictive behaviors’ and has the same characteristics as gambling and alcoholism. This can be brought about by factors such as depression, anxiety or even loneliness. These behaviors are very common mainly during the holidays in August and December. However, shopping does not help to overcome the problems; at times it even makes one feel worse, since the person is left with guilt and regret due to the huge financial debts incurred.

There are many ways in which one can realize that he or she has become a compulsive shopper. When such a person is feeling bored, he/she will go and spend. Such people will normally buy stuff which is not immediate and may not be required even in the long term. It may be items such as shoes, clothing, kitchen wares and others. Women with compulsive shopping disorder will have items in their homes with the price tag on, since they have never been used. They normally go to the shopping malls to buy household necessities, but will later come with loads of other items which were not planned. People with such disorders may also have memory lapses and may not remember when they shopped for the items in question. If family members or spouses begin to question or complain about this behavior, they go to the extent of hiding the articles.

The compulsive disorder victims are basically in denial about this problem, just like in all addiction cases. Due to these problems they cannot pay their bills and the rate of their credit will be on a downward trend as well. They may even be on the wrong side of the law and may also experience social and relationship problems among peers and family members. This also results in interpersonal, occupational, family and financial difficulties. The relationships become impaired due to excessive spending. It is only when a huge debt has been accumulated and when financial damage has been discovered, such people begin to think of a change in their lifestyle. Due to these challenges, they engage themselves in other income generating activities that will suit and justify their shopping needs.

It is thus recommended that people with this disorder should first and foremost admit that they have such a disorder. Acceptance is very important at this healing stage. After that, they will simply go to a counseling therapy or a self help group. Counseling in this case should be conducted by a professional to ensure its effectiveness and meaningfulness. There many other ways to curb this disorder, such as to adhere to a strict financial policy, which can be, for example, use of cash only in all transactions (Houts 5). Making a shopping list for the necessary items could also be effective. Minimal or no use at all for credit card has proved to be worthwhile, since one will buy only what he can pay for at that given time. One should carry out such leisure activities as window shopping, only when the stores are closed down. This should also be done without any money on you. If all this methods prove futile, one should stop going to malls and instead send someone else with his/her shopping list. One should also desist from the shopping television channels and avoid phoning catalog orders. One could also find an engaging activity to participate in whenever there is an urge to shop. It could be jogging or gym. This is imperative before the urges get out of control. It is easy to overcome this disorder with the right structure and guidance.

Anti-depressants have been also recommended for people with shopping disorders. This is because this disorder can make one reach the point of being suicidal about their inability to stop spending money. The reasons for compulsive shopping disorders are varied. However, all the problems stem mostly from a low self esteem, insecurity and inadequacy. The researchers from Stanford University Medical Centre in California, led by Dr Lorrain Koran, said that they were amazed by the rapid changes they witnessed due to the use of those drugs.

Exploring the negative consumption behaviors is vital, since it contributes to the society’s well being. The tendency to make unplanned purchases may lead to financial ruin. Marketers have taken advantage of the online shopping, which, as the research has shown, is the number one contributor to the addiction. This is simply because online shopping has a variety of products, thus it becomes more appealing to the compulsive shoppers. The fact that they purchase without being seen is a major contributing factor. They shop without social interactions; therefore, the secrecy makes it feel right.

The easy availability of credit has led to a culture whereby people are accumulating possessions now and are worrying about the financial responsibilities later. Marketers should take the responsibility and try to find ways in which the credit cards could be issued only to people who are free of this kind of disorders. Online purchasing should be restricted to a few hours so as to discourage the compulsive shopping addicts.

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