Understanding compulsive shopping disorder; things to do to stop buying unnecessary stuff

There is an irresistible and overpowering desire to buy and purchase things despite negative consequences

New Delhi: Does it ever happen that a notification of a sale comes and you are not able to stop yourself from buying despite not needing to? Or is there not enough money in the bank and you are worried about the next meal but that does not deter you from purchasing an unnecessary item? Often there is an irresistible and overpowering desire to buy and purchase things despite negative consequences. That state of mind is known as compulsive shopping disorder.
Even though mental health professionals have not categorized the condition as a psychological disorder but it is an addiction and obsession that needs to be controlled.

What are the characteristics of the condition?

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People who cannot overpower the urge and need to buy compulsively have:

  • Difficulty in resisting the purchase of any item whether needed or not
  • End up in financial problems because of compulsive buying
  • Buying items that are not required
  • Facing personal issues because of the obsession
  • Spending and wasting time researching shopping

Who gets affected by compulsive shopping disorder?

In the United States studies have shown that at least one in 20 adults suffers from shopping compulsion disorder that usually begins after the age of 20 when most adults become independent.

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  • Psychologists say most compulsive shoppers also experience other mental disorders like
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Eating issues like anorexia, and bulimia
  • Mood swings and prone to depression
  • Substance abuse
  • Personality disorders
  • Socially aloof
  • Bipolar disorders

Treating Compulsive Shopping Disorder

According to mental health professionals, since this disorder is not officially recognized as a mental health issue, there is no exclusive treatment but cognitive behavioral therapy can reduce the symptoms. Many people also take meditation as a therapy to calm their minds. Also, serotonin inhibitors help those suffering from this disorder.

Other than that, there are various self-help programs one can undertake to resolve the issue. A few easy steps to undertake are:

  1. Get some hobbies: People who usually shop a lot are bored and stressed with nothing productive to do. Hence, it is best to get involved in some hobby to become busy
  2. Made a list: Make a list of your daily routine time-wise and follow it properly. The schedule should be so tight that there should be no time to spend on unnecessary shopping.
  3. Take help from friends: Take help from a supportive friend whenever you go to the market. That friend can discourage you from purchasing stuff not needed.
  4. Always pay in cash: In this era of digital transactions, always make it a point to pay in cash, when you would keep a limited amount.
  5. Unsubscribe: The time when online shopping is preferred, make it a point to unsubscribe and block shopping sites to put a limit on your spending.

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness program or making any changes to your diet.


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