How do I control the desire

Compulsive Buying - Strategies to Control This Desire

What Causes Compulsive Buying? What can you do to solve this problem? In our article today, we're going to talk about why shopping is an unhealthy strategy for managing anxiety.

Last update: April 15, 2021

Controlling the need to buy is a major challenge for some people. People who are passionate about shopping sometimes find it difficult to control their impulse to buy things they don't really need. They shop because it helps them control their fear. Compulsive buying thus becomes a very unhealthy coping mechanism.

Almost immediately after the relief brought about by the purchase, a person with an obligation to buy usually experiences severe guilt and discomfort. As a result, fear returns in full. And sometimes it's even worse than before. Compulsive buying is a vicious circle that can seriously harm those affected and their families. That's why in today's article we'd like to introduce you to some strategies you can use to cope with and control this urge.

Compulsive Buying: The Features

Compulsive buying, also called compulsive buying or oniomania, is counted among the non-substance-related addictions or obsessive-compulsive disorders, sometimes also among the impulse control disorders. Oniomania can be associated with mood disorders, eating disorders, and personality disorders. The main characteristics of compulsive buying are the following:

  • Buy unnecessary and unnecessary items
  • Great anxiety and desire to own an item
  • Insomnia caused by obsessive thoughts about buying an item
  • An uncontrollable desire to shop
  • A feeling of satisfaction immediately after the purchase and the associated relief from unpleasant symptoms
  • Feelings of guilt and dissatisfaction after the first exhilaration

When the person concerned has the desired items in his possession, this leads to immediate satisfaction. However, as we mentioned above, a person with an obsession to buy often experiences shame and guilt because he or she could not control the urge to buy something useless. This feeling of guilt is intensified if the purchase was not within the budget of the person concerned or does not correspond to the idea that this person has of himself (dissonance of the self-concept).

Feeling like they are doing something bad causes those affected to hide their behavior. They sometimes lie about the origin and price of the item in question. The feelings of shame that result from this lie can trigger new fears. This, in turn, can lead to further purchases. The desire for the relief felt by buying is ultimately so overwhelming that it outweighs the inevitable feelings of guilt and shame. As you can see, this is a vicious circle that is difficult to break.

The emotions associated with shopping and the long-term consequences

People with oniomania are extremely uncomfortable before buying. Buying items is the only thing that gives them relief. Therefore, for them, the act of shopping is a kind of “magical” solution to their problems.

But as you have already seen, this “miracle cure” has serious consequences. On the one hand, compulsive buying creates a lot of guilt in the long run, which leads to increased purchases. This vicious circle exists with all addictive behavior. In addition, compulsive buyers develop tolerance over time. That means they have to buy more each time to get the same sense of relief. Another factor is that compulsive buyers can quickly get into financial trouble. They may need to take out loans or sell some of their belongings in order to continue to have enough cash to spend on their shopping trips.

Strategies to control the compulsion to buy

The key to helping people control this harmful and compulsive habit is through psychotherapy. An expert can be particularly attentive and vigilant and take appropriate action, especially in phases in which there is an increased risk.

For example, if a patient with an obligation to buy spends a lot of time at home and on the Internet. However, controlling compulsive buying through online channels is much more difficult due to the availability and variety of goods on offer. In addition, the ability to pay for the properties directly online is another critical factor. Because those affected very often forget that they are actually spending money.

Understanding the symptoms of this disorder is also imperative for family members. You can play a very important role in helping loved ones overcome the addiction. Otherwise, there is a risk that the family itself will become a source of unpleasant emotions and sensations for the person concerned.

For example, if you find that your partner's expenses are well beyond the budget available, you will find it difficult not to blame them for the family's financial problems. However, you should realize that making an addict feel guilty at all is not helpful. Because these could in turn trigger further compensation purchases.

Here are some strategies you can use to control an obsession to buy:

Compulsive Buying: Avoid Credit and Debit Cards

If you pay with cash, it is much easier to keep track of how much money you are actually spending. Paying a pile of bills is much more difficult than just handing over a credit card. An immediate solution to compulsive buying is therefore that the person concerned only has access to gift cards or shopping cards with a fixed financial limit. That way you can only spend what you actually planned. And at the same time you can still enjoy the convenience of not having to carry cash with you.

Set yourself a monthly spending limit

Set a monthly limit or define a fixed budget for optional purchases. However, you should definitely avoid increasing this budget in order to “reward” yourself for your successes afterwards. If you've achieved your goals, that's actually a cause for joy! But if you have an obsession to buy, don't go over budget. A helpful strategy can be to share your goals with another person and enjoy the recognition you get for achieving your goals.

Another strategy against compulsive buying: if you go to a mall, use public transport

This strategy can also be very helpful. If you use public transport, you will think twice about whether you really want to do too much shopping. In addition, if you feel the impulse to buy indiscriminately, you have to spend more time doing it and the whole shopping process is less convenient. Also, the idea of ​​waiting in line and pushing your way through the crowds can be enough to deter you from making unnecessary purchases.

Keep a record of your expenses

Keep an accurate record of your expenses and make a statement once a week (or once a month). That way, you can better see how much money you're spending on unnecessary items. In addition, you will be able to tell what kind of things to buy when you are feeling bad.

Only take enough money with you so you can buy what you really need

When you go out of the house, you should only take as much money with you as you need for your essential purchases. This way you avoid additional expenses. In addition, can also A shopping list can be very helpful, because this way you think carefully beforehand about what you actually need and what you don't. However, you should keep in mind that at times when you are not doing well, you can get the feeling that some things you really want to buy are very important, even though you ultimately don't need them at all.

As you can see, it is not easy to control an obligation to buy. But if you don't try to address this problem, sooner or later it will control your life. It can also affect your relationships with people around you. Psychotherapy is very helpful and an important step to free yourself from this vicious circle.

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