Compulsive shopping, lesser known as omniomania, is a behavioral addiction, where shopping becomes the individual’s primary coping mechanism, pursued to excess, despite negative associated consequences. Social, financial, and occupational functioning is significantly impacted, yet the addict feels helpless to control his/her behavior.
Onset typically is in early adulthood, but can occur in the late teens. The prevalence of this addiction is thought to be approximately 8.9% of the U.S. population (Ridgway, et al., 2008). This disorder commonly co-occurs with other addictions such as, substance abuse, eating disorders, personality disorders, and impulse control disorders.
Similar to other addictions, the shopping addict is often consumed by thoughts, plans, rituals, and trips devoted to the act of shopping. Engaging in this behavior brings relief and feelings of pleasure. These feelings, however, are only transient and the addict soon needs to re-engage in the behavior, in what becomes a never ending cycle.