In April 2013, Buzz Bissinger, author of the book Friday Night Lights, wrote an extraordinary story in GQ Magazine where he admitted to owning 81 leather jackets, dozens of pairs of boots and leather gloves, a $5,000 pair of pants and a $22,000 coat. He attended Milan Fashion Week the previous winter as an all-expenses paid guest of Gucci, and said this was when he started to ‘grapple’ with a compulsion that could have cost more than just his life savings.
“My name is Buzz Bissinger,” he wrote. “I am 58 years old, the best-selling author of Friday Night Lights, father of three, husband. And I am a shopaholic.”
Welcome to the world of Oniomania, a compulsive spending and shopping addiction, which approximately 6 percent of the American population suffers from, according to a 2006 Stanford University study.
It’s a bad time to suffer from it, according to clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula. “There’s more and more stuff in society,” she says, “so this disorder is more likely to be expressed.”
Durvasula also blames the media culture we live in, one she says increasingly shows what people own and prompting us all to want a similar lifestyle, thinking it will solve our own problems. Worse still, a depressed economy sows even more resentment. “The frustration of not being able to get the lifestyle people want coupled with easy credit likely translates into more shopping to manage negative mood states like frustration and helplessness,” she says.