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Compulsive Buying

When it comes to “compulsions”, most of us might think of hand-washing or other stereotypical OCD-related behavior. However, compulsions can also be associated with other kinds of addictive behavior, such as shopping. We have all likely had the experience of feeling an adrenaline rush when we buy something nice for ourselves. For those that struggle with mental illness, this rush can be an escape from depression or anxiety, but it can also cause a lot of other problems. As we venture into the holiday season, many of us may feel tempted to shop and buy more than we can afford.

Credit cards in particular may make it easier to give in to the compulsion to buy and feel the rush because it delays the pain of having to pay for a purchase. In fact, according to an article in Psychology Today, about 6% of Americans can be classified as struggling with Compulsive Buying Disorder, and approximately 80% of compulsive buyers are women! Compulsive shopping may be used to decrease negative emotions, is often very impulsive, and will likely lead to further financial issues and relationship difficulties.

It is easy to see the emphasis on materialism in our country, and we have all heard of “retail therapy”. So how do we distinguish when “retail therapy” has begun to do us harm? According to goodtherapy.org, shopping may be considered an addiction if you are needing to buy more to achieve the same mood enhancing feelings, or if you are unable to cut down on buying despite a desire to do so. If this sounds familiar, you may have a problem with compulsive buying.

Check out the original articles at the links listed below, and let Main St. Psychiatry know if compulsive buying is a problem for you!