Of ‘holics’, shopping and chocolate craze - GulfToday

Of ‘holics’, shopping and chocolate craze

Birjees Hussain

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.


Image for illustrative purpose only.

Obsessive compulsive disorders are more common than you might think and there are a variety of them around. There are people who are obsessed with cleanliness, often without any apparent reason. They might have cleaned something not ten minutes ago but, for no apparent need to, they’ll go ahead and clean the same thing again because in their eyes it’s become dirty again.

Then there are eating disorders where someone might eat something that is not meant to be eaten but do so because they can’t help it. Or people don’t eat at all because they think they’re too fat thus leading to anorexia. Some go the opposite way by eating too much and then throwing up in secret, a disorder known as bulimia. Most of these disorders are recognised as emanating from a deep-seated emotional base and are, thus, treatable using a variety of therapies. It, therefore, goes without saying that if the medical profession can’t recognise a disorder they have a hard time treating it because they don’t really know how to.

The most well-known disorder patients are alcoholics. Later, in a sort of playful way, other ‘holics’ were added to the dictionary when people exhibited new compulsive behaviours. For example, someone who works all hours of the day and night is called a workaholic, people who gorge on chocolate are chocoholics and those who down litres of coke are cokaholics. Of course none of these has far-reaching consequences unless a chocoholic or cokaholic develops a medical condition from the excessive sugar intake. Moreover, none of these ‘holisms’ is recognised by the medical profession to warrant some form of medical treatment.

But one ‘holic’ has now been recognised enough to warrant intervention. A shopaholic is, apparently, a danger not only to him but to those closest to him. It’s not about the items he purchases per se, although they do play a part in the shopaholic’s life.

Who is a shopaholic? It’s someone who has a compulsion to continuously shop for things they do not need or for things similar to something they already have. Their compulsion could be for a number of reasons, all of which are usually emotionally charged. It could be a buzz they get from opening something new. It could be something to cheer themselves up when they are down. It could be something to treat themselves when they’ve done well. Or they are simply shopping without thinking. They know they already have that item but can’t bear to walk past a rack with the same thing in a different colour, even if they are probably never likely to wear it.

Many shopaholics are not rich nor do they make enough money to be constantly splurging on unnecessary things. They eat away at their salaries and even take loans to feed their shopaholism. The result is a rising credit card debt on top of which are immense storage problems because, let’s face it, if they are spending money they don’t have, the chances are they don’t have anywhere to store this stuff either.

But their rising credit card debt, coupled with the storage issues in a small space, can also affect those living with them. If a member of a family has accumulated unnecessary items either in the living room or bedroom and these items are making it impossible to move about, I guarantee someone is likely to explode and it’s not going to be the shopaholic. They are also likely to explode when they see their credit card bills. Situations such as these can lead to family breakups, depression and worse. It is for this reason the medical profession has now recognised that shopaholism isn’t some fun word made up to describe someone who simply enjoys shopping. It goes far beyond that.

Shopaholics should recognise that they are not doing themselves any favour by constantly buying stuff they don’t need with money they don’t have to store in spaces they don’t live in. The only people benefiting from their disorder are the credit card companies, loan sharks and shops who are more than happy to welcome a shopaholic. And remember, many shops do not give you a refund so once you’ve spent that money, it’s gone. However, there are some that do give a refund so why not take advantage of that if you are within the return policy period?

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