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Addicted to Shopping: 5 Things to Know About Compulsive Buying Disorder

The term shopaholic is often used to playfully describe a friend that spends just a little too much time at the mall, but an addiction to shopping is a very real issue. In the United States alone, approximately 18 million people suffer from a “compulsion to spend money, regardless of need or financial means,” says Healthline.com.

And the surge in online shopping over recent years now makes easier than ever to purchase unnecessary items from anywhere and at any time of day. Of those who have compulsive buying disorder, referred to medically as monomania, approximately 90 percent are women. Although recent studies have shown that the proportion of men affected by the disorder is on the rise. Here are five things to know about this concerning condition…

1. How it Differs from Casual Shopping

Since shopping is a common activity in day-to-day life, and is a particularly popular pastime in North America, it may be challenging to identify someone as having compulsive buying disorder. But there are distinguishable differences between those with the disorder and people who shop casually.

Dr. Fraser from the McGill University Health Centre explains that a lack of impulse control is a major indicator. He says that the person may spend “so much time looking for sales that it interferes with their daily activities.” Another factor is that, while most people shop for pleasure or for the purpose of attaining something specific, those with compulsive buying disorder make purchases to combat feelings such as stress or emptiness.

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