What is Spending Addiction?

Article Details
  • Written By: Matt Brady
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
The average American has around 60 "bad days" a year; lack of sleep is the biggest contributing factor.  more...

October 20 ,  1973 :  The "Saturday Night Massacre"  more...

A spending addiction, also known as oniomania, is characterized by the intense desire to buy things, or even just a constant obsessing over shopping regardless of whether purchases are made. People with such desires tend to shop compulsively, often for things that are absolutely unnecessary and which may never be used. Compulsive shoppers may also buy things which aren't for their own personal use, but which are bought as gifts for others. Spending addiction is considered by the medical community to be a very real kind of addiction that can have a severely negative impact on one's quality of life.

For many, a spending addiction is inextricably tied to troubled finances. Compulsive shoppers will often rack up a crushing amount of debt to sustain their addiction. There are others, however, who are wealthy enough to have a spending addiction without creating a financial mess. Even for those individuals, an addiction to spending can be a heavy emotional and mental burden that's driven by a variety of unhealthy factors, such as low self-esteem or a dependency on spending to feel happy. This isn't all that unlike one who eats compulsively when feeling depressed.


A severe spending addiction can not only leave a person financially underwater, but can also financially impair relationships with spouses or other loved ones. Compulsive shoppers have been known to try and hide their errant spending habits from their families out of shame. This, however, only makes problems worse; the more successfully one is able to hide their habit, the worse it gets, which only leads to a greater financial and emotional toll on all parties involved.

Spending addiction often begins as combination of undisciplined spending habits—aided by easy access to credit and a culture that encourages shopping—and poor self-image. If spending gets bad enough to bankrupt a family, derail a marriage, or cause some other catastrophic life event, the addicted individual might feel such great shame and depression as to entertain thoughts of suicide. That kind of power to greatly harm lives is a major reason why spending addiction is taken so seriously by medical professionals.

There are multiple methods to treating spending addiction. Many people are prescribed anti-depressant medications, to help them cope with feelings of self-doubt, low self-esteem, and guilt. Financial consultants may be brought in to help sort out spending and debt problems. In family situations, a marital counselor might also be recommended to help reconcile spouses who have trust issues and feel separated by a financial rift.


You might also Like


Discuss this Article

Post 3

Although I don't know many people who have a spending addiction, I think one of the reasons why people decide to spend so much is because generally speaking, money gives you power.

On top of this, despite the fact that many products can be quite expensive, most people don't realize how much they've spent until they're out of money, which can drain very fast if you're not paying careful attention.

For example, when you go to the movies, between the snacks, tickets and other expenses, do people really pay attention to how how much they're spending? If they have five hundred dollars in their pocket, I highly doubt it. However, if they're trying to stretch till they get their next paycheck, the answer is yes.

Post 2

Based on my personal experience, I used to have a spending addiction when I went out shopping. In fact, I think that's one of the main "gimmicks" consumers use to lure you in and get you to buy things you really don't need, whether it's intentionally or unintentionally.

For example, let's say that you went to Walmart to shop for a few clothes. On your way to the clothing section, what if noticed some good looking food products, which for some reason or another, happened to be conveniently placed in an area near the clothing section. Spending addiction or not, this is one of the ways consumers lure you in, further increasing your desire to buy things that aren't even needed.

Post 1

Whether we want to admit it or not, I think in some way shape or form, all of us have some sort of spending addiction, even though some cases are obviously more extreme than others. Also, I feel that the spending addiction might be a bit more prominent in adolescents than in adults. In fact, let's look at it this way.

Most adults have a lot of things to pay for. This includes bills, food for the family, and several other expenses. However, when it comes to adolescents, most of them don't have a job, and it's a whole lot easier to spend money on whatever you want.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?