We all love to shop, keep up with trends and fashion. However, buying can be a problem if
it is uncontrolled, excessive and persistent.
Compulsive buying is a behaviour recognized as mental health problem where a person has
a constant desire to shop, uncontrolled and result in spending a large amount of money and
effort. Compulsive buying is a response to negative emotions. It often leads to problems in
relationships and finances because of compulsive buying. It is observed that an individual
who involve in compulsive buying in order to improve their mood, cope up with any
stressors, seek for social validation and try to improve their own self-image. In other words,
compulsive buying is also termed as addiction, as it has a dependency on buying to feel
good. In compulsive buying, the focus is mostly on the process of shopping. The main
motivation is to relieve negative emotions and elevate social status. The attachment of
compulsive buyers is little to maybe nothing for the purchased items. Compulsive buyers
tend to keep purchased goods mostly hidden or flaunt.
The individual with Compulsive buying behaviour often met the criteria for other mental
health mood disorders, substance abuse disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders and
ADHD. Compulsive buying is directed by feelings of anxiety and low self-esteem.
Over years, it is studied that compulsive buying among shopping lovers has increased. It is
seen among women as it is recognized than men, as women tend to engage in more
shopping as a recreational activity and sociocultural status. Adults are common compulsive
buyers. Compulsive buying behaviour has been compared to behaviour addictions disorders
by sex, education status, origin, employment, civil status and other factors.
Here are some symptoms of compulsive buying behaviour-
● Financial problems
● Loss of control
● Overpowering urge
● Problem at work, family
● Spending a long duration of time
● An overwhelming sense of guilt and shame
There are no specific criteria for Compulsive Buying Behavior to diagnose as doesn’t have
its own mental health disorder. But any of the symptoms have a huge impact on life
impairments, mental health and financial problems. If the problem continues for a long time
then it is a serious buying problem rather than normal buying or necessities, then it’s time
for an individual to seek therapy and try some treatments.
Compulsive Buyers can use few strategies as coping mechanisms to cope up with
symptoms. One of the most effective ways is developing alternative ways to distract from
the urge of shopping such as listening to music, painting, yoga and so on. Other than this
can be unsubscribed the mails or notifications off for the websites, we often check online
about trends, sales or new collections, as half of the time, our life revolves around the
internet. Another way is taking control of spending by keep track of expenses, using the
cash method, setting a budget and identifying the triggers for developing urges. Some
treatments are suggested for Compulsive Buyers as Cognitive Behavior Therapy(CBT), as
CBT can help to reduce the effect of symptoms. Other than CBT, Selective Serotonin
Reuptake Inhibitors(SSRIs) respond to symptoms.
It is important to understand the difference between normal buying and compulsive buying.
If your loved ones have any conditions of compulsive buying, help them before it becomes
serious and uncontrollable situations and or put them in any risky behaviour.