Psychotherapists Say Shopping Should Be Classed As A Mental Disorder
After carrying out research published in Comprehensive Psychiatry and combining it with data collected within previous studies, a team of psychotherapists in Germany have announced the habit is linked to anxiety and depression, which is being exacerbated by online shopping.
They found that one third of those seeking treatment for Buying-Shopping Disorder (BSD) are showing signs of addiction to online purchasing, and say the obsessive behaviour has "much in common with substance use disorders and gambling disorders".
Shopping has long been an addiction for many, but with new clothes, make-up and gadgets so easily accessible online now, the issue is becoming more prevalent amid concerns it's affecting people's everyday functioning.
Dr Astrid Müller, a psychotherapist at Hannover Medical School in Germany points out that unlike normal retail stores, online shops operate 24 hours a day, so the opportunity to buy is constant.
When an addiction to shopping becomes serious, a person may develop BSD, which means they will overspend beyond their means, buy goods to gain feelings of relief or pleasure and often find themselves in serious debt they cannot get out of. They often end up arguing with loved ones because of it, too.
And worryingly, five per cent of adults in developed countries show some signs of it.
BSD has long been recognised as an "other specified impulse control disorder" in the International Classification of Diseases.
But Dr Müller thinks it may be time to recognise it as a mental condition in its own right after a new analysis on a study of 122 patients seeking help for BSD
She said: "Considering recent research findings, the high prevalence rates of BSD, its dysfunctionality and interference with daily functioning, and the increasing number of individuals seeking treatment for BSD, we believe that there is no question that it really is time to recognize BSD as a separate mental health condition."
Dr Müller thinks the condition has gone unrecognised for too long, but that it is an addiction in a behavioural sense.
And if it is finally recognised as a mental health condition then the health service will have to come up with treatment plans, so we are all for it.
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