SHU service helps to limit shopping addiction


Everyone has felt the calling and the all too sweet obsession of the smell of cherry pie cooling on a windowsill and yet, this time it isn’t a sweet cherry pie that people are gravitating towards.

This summer, a shopper will be pushed by unrelenting impulses to buy a black pair of hoop earrings that is stronger than ever. Clothes, shoes, handbags…it’s the urge to splurge this summer.

“Shop ‘til you drop” has given itself a new meaning. Sure, we all love to hang with the gang at the mall, blow off steam or purchase a couple of necessary items, but shopping has been geared into overdrive.

According to, every year, about $600 billion is spent by millennial shoppers (persons aged 15-35) on wants instead of needs in the United States.

Although some purchases are considered necessities, the idea of a shopaholic still exists. Oniomania or compulsive shopping is defined as an obsessive or uncontrollable urge to buy things.

“It is important to understand that compulsive shopping is not a recognized disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), which is published by the American Psychiatric Association and lists diagnoses that are currently supported by research,” said Randy Nolte, a Seton Hall Staff Psychologist. “Rather, ‘compulsive shopping’ and oniomania are non-clinical terms used to describe an observed behavior.”

Other than the obvious and immediate posed danger of bankruptcy, oniomania can set the foundation of other life altering risks.

“Compulsive shopping can be very problematic for some and lead to long-term consequences, such as financial, legal or relationship problems,” Nolte said.

Because of these difficulties, several rehabilitation methods have been developed.

“Although there is some debate about whether this condition is truly a mental disorder, research seems to indicate that the use of antidepressants can be helpful in its treatment,” according to an article on

While prescription drugs are available for this impulse, there are other recommended approaches to deal with compulsive shopping.

“Psychotherapy is proven to be an effective form of treatment for managing all forms of anxiety, including compulsive behaviors,” Nolte said. “In my experience, student’s desires to go on medication come from their desire to experience immediate relief of their symptoms and highlights the emotional pain they are experiencing. I encourage students to invest their energy and desire to improve into their treatment and allow each ‘dose’ of therapy to take full effect.”

Indirectly, Seton Hall University (SHU) has taken steps to curb the craving. The Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides complimentary crisis intervention as well as confidential consultation in order to foster the psychological health and well-being of the student body.

“If any matter, including excessive shopping is leading a student to experience significant emotional distress or impacts their day to day functioning, we encourage him/her to schedule an appointment with CAPS to meet with one of our counselors,” Nolte said. “Any issue having even the slightest negative impact on a student’s academics, relationships, or mood, is worth addressing.”

The program also offers group therapy for those who may want to face the matter with a like-minded associate.

Although compulsive shopping may not be as pertinent as other infatuations, it still effects a large portion of people and can be dealt with in the appropriate manner to help any student with their future endeavors.

“Our (CAPS) goal would be to decrease the problematic behavior to improve the individual’s functioning and overall quality of life,” said Nolte.

At the end of the day, we are still college students attending a private university. It might be wise to pocket a few bucks here and there instead of blowing it on that overpriced piece of jewelry you might only wear once.

Katherine Wilson can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

Share This Post On

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This