09/03/2018 12:06 SAST | Updated 09/03/2018 12:06 SAST

Are You A Shopping Addict? Here's How To Know...

...and where to get help.

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Shopping addiction affects at least 5 percent of the adult population in developed countries, with an estimated 14 percent who have a mild form of the condition throughout the world.

Shopping addicts or compulsive shoppers are unable to resist inner urges to make purchases, normally repeatedly, and to spend excessively, even when they can't afford to do so or have no use for the product they're purchasing.

The technical term for this is omniomania and, according to research by World Psychiatry, affects 80 percent more women than it does men.

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According to Shopaholics Anonymous, there are different types of shopaholics:

  • Compulsive Shopaholics – shop when they are feeling emotional distress
  • Trophy Shopaholics – are always shopping for the perfect item
  • Big-spender Image – shopaholics often want to have the image of being "the big spender"
  • Bargain Seekers – purchase items they don't need just because they were on sale
  • Bulimic Shoppers – get caught in a vicious cycle of buying and returning
  • Collectors – do not feel complete until they have one item in each colour or every piece of a set

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Here are a few suggestions to keep it in check:

  • Be aware of people and events that trigger you to shop and try your best to avoid them
  • Make lists before going to the shops so you buy only what you need, and if you need an accountability partner, have a trusted friend or family member present
  • Don't carry more cash than you need and, if it calls for it, leave your debit, credit or clothing account cards at home
  • If necessary, block certain shopping sites on the internet
  • Develop fun things to do to fill up your time
  • Don't be ashamed to seek support, through support groups or individual counselling to get to the source of the addiction and help manage

If you need help, you can contact:

1. The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) on their 24-hour helpline -- 0800 12 13 14.

2. We Do Recover offers addiction treatment. Contact them on 081 444 7000.

3. Twin Rivers Rehabilitation Centre also treats all forms of addictions including compulsive shopping. Reachable on 082 863 3159.