Archive for June, 2010

Compulsive Shopping Disorder

Monday, June 28th, 2010

There have been many times when we have laughed at our own and other’s inability to rein in our purchases. We often step out with no intention of buying anything and yet end up with bags and bags of purchases that we did know we had wanted until we saw them. While this scenario may appear like a joke to some, it is really symptomatic of an addiction to

This addiction is also known as spending addiction. Experts claim that this addiction is as harmful as drug or alcohol. The buyer gets that sensation in his mind while shopping that a alcoholic gets as he is anticipating his drink or as a junkie gets as he is about to snort. The physical symptoms are all there, they begin to sweat or their heartbeat increases as a sign of great excitement and satisfaction. This disorder is studied only scarcely and often not taken seriously at all. In reality, however, it has the potential to ruin lives as people often commit crimes and financial embezzlement in order to satisfy the urge to spend.

Very commonly, buyers do not use the items they have bought. Something catches their eye and they end up purchasing it. It then is relegated to the back of the closet or basement where it languishes till it does not fit any more or has rusted beyond recognition. Often, buyers get generous and give them away or even return them to the store after having the pleasure of owning it for a while.

This disorder is certainly more rampant in women than men and is linked to many more kinds of mental issues like depression, low self esteem, and even eating disorders. But it is not completely absent in men either. Where women tend to go for certain items like clothes, shoes, accessories, cosmetics; men indulge in gadgets, books, and accessories.

People often keep job hopping for pays that will fulfill this urge to spend. Similarly, they tend to stagnate in a job just because it pays their high bills. The central problem here is that there is an emotional void that the addicts are trying to complete. They feel the cause of this is outside themselves, it may be a relationship or a job. If things do not go well, they splurge the way people might drink or cry or go into depression. Even a family tragedy may trigger this.

The biggest obstacle with this addiction is it is difficult to identify it and even more difficult to face it. This blocks the addict from finding any reasonable solution, they may argue that it is not as bad as substance abuse.

There is really solution to this problem except to treat it like a disorder and undergo therapy for it. One should remember that it is not only the amount of spending that is done but also the increasing way in which the addict ties his/her worth to objects.