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Compulsive Buying Disorder

The Truth About Compulsive Buying Disorder

Thousands of people suffer from one type of addiction or another, from alcoholism or substance abuse to compulsive eating or gambling.  People often discover a specific vice behavior or substance to combat deeper physiological pain and may use these vices to relieve feelings of anxiety or displacement.  Generally as humans, we gain a mental and emotional connection to a specific addiction or compulsive disorder that gives us short term relief.   Which is better than no relief, but which often compounds the psychological mire we then find ourselves in.   The truth is a compulsive buying disorder is a form of mental illness that often requires  confrontation and therapy to overcome.  Too often the coping strategy itself leads us into harsh financial, mental, relational and legal consequences.


Signs and Symptoms of a Compulsive Buying Disorder

A compulsion of any sort is a desire to fulfill a deep and painful void.  This is the beginning of addiction.  Much like the coercion to eat, diet, gamble, drink or abuse drugs, the compulsion to shop bears the same physiological satisfaction.  Many people feel that their problems can not be solved without acting out their compulsive need.  Most often these obligations come from depression, anxiety or a feeling of excitement and euphoria.

Obsessive shopping disorders are the subject of debate by many professional therapists that deal with OCD, because this type of disorder does not fit into the same category as a person with OCD.  However, there is a common thread among therapist, as they all agree the compulsion to shop is a disorder that affects a large number of men and women, but is more prominent in women.

Compulsive buying disorder as opposed to undisciplined spending habits is defined by a fine line from a person feeling they have to shop verses a person who merely overspends when shopping.  The signs and symptoms of a compulsive desire to buy have specific characteristics that are most often overlooked or misunderstood as money mismanagement.

Typically the characteristics of compulsive buyers are closely related to someone who hoards.  Normally shopping addicts do not use the items they buy; they store them, give them away or simply return them for new items.  According to compulsive shoppers, the feeling gained by excessive buying is much like a high you get from drugs or sexual gratification.  It is this feeling that drives obsessive compulsive shoppers to capture that feeling over and over again.  Yet the desire to feel the need to shop stems from other deeper physiological issues that usually go undetected until the person finds themselves in either financial or legal trouble.

Most people who suffer from compulsive buying disorder will go to great lengths to fulfill their addiction to shop.  This means that they will borrow and/or steal to get the money they need to support there shopping addiction. The same extreme behavior is characteristically seen in drug addicts or alcoholics.  Although most CBD sufferers gain a level of satisfaction during the process of compulsive shopping, they quickly come down from their high with overwhelming feelings of guilt and depression.  This cycle of emotions is the trigger that causes many people to continue this compulsive behavior as a cry for help or until the process is financially and legally damaging.

It's not uncommon for compulsive shoppers to live in constant denial of their condition and spiral into an endless cycle of buying. This is until the compulsion become dangerous or to the point they begin to feel suicidal or the need to commit outlandish criminal activity.  Many women that suffer from a spending addiction typically buy clothes and shoes that are never worn and still carry the price tag.  They find themselves overcome by a closet that is overflowing.  Sometimes this disorder is so severe that compulsive shoppers will even rent storages spaces to hold items they’ll never use.

What Can You Do To Help a Loved One

It is quite clear that the psychological disorder of compulsive shopping is deeply detrimental for that person's financial and mental safety.  If you know someone who may be suffering from the compulsion to spend, do some research online to find a shoppers anonymous program or consult with a therapist that specializes in this condition and assist your friend in getting some real help.  Don’t try to provide therapeutic treatment by yourself, as this may backfire and can be more harmful than helpful.  Losing your friendship and feeling judged could cause the compulsive buyer to sink deeper yet into her shopping addiction.


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