About 6% of women and 5.5% of men are compulsive buyers, according to a study in 2006. The study found that:
While many people shop beyond their means and buy things that they don’t need, a compulsive buyer will lose control over their shopping, and this addiction will greatly impact the rest of their life. They will suffer not only financial consequences from shopping, but also relationship problems, emotional issues, and their commitments and responsibilities may also suffer. Shopping addiction can easily lead to hoarding, as the person begins to acquire more things than they physically have room for. Other compulsive shoppers suffer from addictions like drug addiction and alcoholism, or from other mental health conditions.
Individuals that suffer from compulsive shopping often use their shopping to meet a need. They may shop to reduce stress, to improve their mood, or to forget about their problems. For compulsive buyers, shopping gives them a feeling of euphoria and a rush of positive emotions, much like a drug addict feels when he or she gets high. Just like a drug addict, a shopaholic cannot stop their activity simply by trying hard enough.
Compulsive shoppers often feel the need to buy things because it helps them feel in control. Someone who has suffered emotional trauma in the past, or who experienced chaos in their life, or who feels powerless because of a bad relationship may turn to shopping to gain control.
Compulsive shopping often requires professional treatment at clinics such as Ayurva in the form of therapy and behaviour modification techniques to overcome. The individual suffering with a shopping addiction must first of all address the underlying reasons for their compulsive shopping, and then work to manage triggers to shop. Many individuals in recovery also go through financial courses and are encouraged to monitor all their purchases, pay only cash for items, and create a strict budget.
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