Shopping on the other hand is a term which is often used in a recreational context , as in : "it's a pleasant afternoon, why don't we go shopping". Shopping necessarily does not mean purchasing objects of requirements; rather, it pertains to purchasing objects of desire and interest. Shopping is an integral part of every vacation, celebration and for most people, even part of their free time. Shopping in these contexts is classified under leisure activities.
In most cases shopping is a harmless and sometimes a relaxing activity but on the other hand it is not uncommon to see "pathological shoppers" who tend to go over the top with their buying spree irrespective of requirement, available finances and affordability. Shopping has a dark side too, just like all other leisure activities when done in excess. In some cases, uncontrolled habits may transform into mental disorders and even dependency which eventually require psychological intervention. Compulsive shoppers may feel a false and temporary phase of happiness just by attaining ownership of a particular object but most often than not, this phase is followed by regret and remorse over monetary wastage.
For the typical shopper, that Tracy Reese dress or Prada bag may just be a piece of merchandise but for a shopaholic it is medication. Women often joke about "retail therapy." But that laughter may actually be a disguise to veil depression, loneliness or boredom. Shopping is an easy way to numb ourselves or boost our self-esteem, even if relief only lasts until buyer's remorse sets in. Shopaholics try to fill in their emptiness with "stuff" they might not even need. That void, in reality, may be from years of emotional or spiritual deprivation: fear that there's never enough, whether its money, material objects, recognition or love.
Retail therapy is shopping with the primary purpose of uplifting the buyers' mood or disposition (Oxford Dictionary). It is a short lived habit and is often seen in people during periods of depression or transition. Items purchased during periods of retail therapy are called "comfort buys". Retail therapy was first used as a term in the 1980's: "we have become a nation measuring out our lives in shopping bags and nursing our psychic ills through retail therapy" (Chicago Tribune, 1986).
In a study by European Union revealed that 33 percent of shoppers surveyed had "high level of addiction to rash or unnecessary consumption" (Observer, 2001) which eventually ran them into debts. Melbourne University researchers have coined a term "oniomania" to this psychological disorder, also known as compulsive shopping disorder.
For a generation, 'retail therapy' has been the ultimate source of salvation from the stresses of modern living. But a major new study now suggests that for millions of people, binge shopping is no longer an emotional cure, rather it may make an individual feel worse. Retail therapy is actually an expensive way of distracting oneself from life's problems which one would eventually have to face and solve anyway! In short, it is a method of escapism. The pleasure is short lived and shallow in nature. Materialistic belongings can never bring peace and true happiness. Moreover, the sense of ownership imparts a false sense of pride which can be addictive as well as