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Is Compulsive Buying a Mental Disorder?

Your Two Cents: Is Compulsive Buying a Mental Disorder?

Buying things to make yourself feel better, getting the high for a short while, coming down with hateful guilt, and repeating the process until you're deep in debt is the basis for compulsive buying. It's an addiction that millions of people struggle to overcome and there are support groups like Debtors Anonymous to aid in recovery. According to a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry, 5.8 percent of Americans suffer from this kind of compulsion.

For years the American Psychiatric Association has been discussing including compulsive buying in its manual of mental disorders — do you think it should be identified as such?


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dukegirl dukegirl 8 years
I am way too afraid to answer this!
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
i shop compulsively when i am feeling depressed or like i don't have my life undercontrol. i think it is really a symptom or coping mechanism of another disorder rather than a disorder in itself.
ShePirate2010 ShePirate2010 8 years
phatE phatE 8 years
I think it's a symptom of a larger issue.. I do think there are extreme cases of compulsive spending, and there are 12 step programs now for that.. However, I think people who struggle with depression, anxiety, OCD, or Bipolar {just to name a few} can fall into compulsive shopping on all different levels.. But, they can also drink, eat, smoke, or do anything else compulsively to get the same affect.
CoralAmber CoralAmber 8 years
I was really depressed today so I left work early and went to the bookstore. I got some books that spoke to me and I feel better. It's not always a good solution, but as long as I don't overspend it's nice to have a pick me up. And it's better than grabbing a pint of ice cream.
graylen graylen 8 years
I was a compulsive shopper for about 6 months. I was dealing with anxiety and depression. Once I was treated and went through therapy for that, the shopping problem went entirely away.
bingkaycoy bingkaycoy 8 years
I do not have this but I don't think people who compulsively buy have mental disorders. Disorder in the mind is analogous to "mentally sick" because the parts of the brain do not function in an orderly manner---they are creating mess, chaos and disruption. I think that this mental state of buying impulsively is a result of false or distorted affectations and cognitions of pleasure and relief. If the individual was once satisfied and relieved from psychological stress due to shopping because the individual releases her displeasure and mental strains on the time spent shopping instead of breaking down and melting down , she would probably associate shopping as the only means of releasing that stress and attaining relief from strains. So everytime, she gets hung up on something like a problem or pressure, she would go back to what once had given her "instant yet temporary" pleasure and relief which is shopping. But I don't think it's mental disorder. If you give her something --an alternative to shopping that might take her mind and time off from the problem or strain, then it's not a mental disorder. Only a habitual response to a problem or pressure.
javsmav javsmav 8 years
I think it can be. I'm a compulsive shopper and I've struggled with an eating disorder & the underlying issues are the same for me. When things were really bad, I was out of control with both of them--it's all about instant gratification to numb the pain (I was bulimic) and feeling the thrill of the binge. I would return a lot of stuff, too, so I guess that relates to the purging? Sometimes I would get the eating under control by shopping or vice versa. Years of therapy & I still struggle with both, but at least I'm healthier and there aren't 7 UPS packages at my door when I get home from work.
amybdk amybdk 8 years
Also not sure if I would call it a disorder - but I do know that compulsive spending plays hand-in-hand with having manic depression.
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 8 years
I usually shop till I drop when I'm happy. I don't think I would classify it as a disorder. I just think its a reaction to an affect of some sort.
bengalspice bengalspice 8 years
I blame depression.
pharm_chick pharm_chick 8 years
we learned this in school this past semester.. a patient with OCD goes through highs and lows; in the high period they are virtually unstoppable, with energy unmatched and a feeling of invicibility, and in the low period, its a feeling of depression when their actos hit home. so while its def. a side effcet of the disorder, i wouldnt all ompulsive shopping a disroder in itself.
ladychaos ladychaos 8 years
I so have this issue.
Le-Luxe Le-Luxe 8 years
I DEFINITELY have this. My problem is that I can't understand why or how all my little purchases add up to be so huge.
colleenb colleenb 8 years
I think I have this! But, honestly, I don't think it's a disorder itself but a symptom of something larger. Like compulsive eating.
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