27 February, 2021

Splurge On The Verge

Obsessive compulsive shopper? It's either a chemical imbalance or an impulse disorder.

Sanjoy Ghosh
Splurge On The Verge
Thirty-eight-year-old Sujata is not embarrassed talking about her shopping excesses simply because she does not see it as a problem. She claims she’s not much of a shopper. "When I go abroad, I buy only five bottles of perfume at a time and when I buy clothes, I generally buy one, no two... OK, maybe five or six." She’s single, earns about a lakh a month and shopping is a priority. "It gives me a sense of purpose, besides it keeps me busy."

Sujata is under psychiatric care. But she doesn’t think her shopping sprees have anything to do with that. She first went to the doctor a few years ago to be able to cope better with her divorce. Today, unknowingly, Sujata is using shopping as a crutch to get over her failed marriage, cope with her loneliness and massage her ego. Her doctor is trying to subtly coax her into looking at alternate ways of feeling good—exercising or socialising maybe—but he never directly tells her to stop shopping. Most shopaholics are often in denial.

Sujata is a classic case of oniomania, the medical term for compulsive buying. The who...

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