Hours and hours of flipping through shopping websites and stock-pilling items in your shopping bag could be a real mental condition according to psychotherapists. The addiction which we have seen in movies such as ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’ could be more serious than mere cat-fights over the long, snake-skin boots and green scarfs but a real, mental condition which should be taken seriously. Psychotherapists are in fact, calling for addiction to online shopping to be classed as a mental disorder in its own right after a new study on 122 people seeking treatment for Buying-Shopping Disorder (BSD) found that one third of people are reporting symptoms of active online purchasing.
According to the study in the journal Comprehensive Psychiatry, BSD is a condition which is estimated to affect around 5 per cent of the population. And researchers have warned that compulsive shoppers 'have an extreme preoccupation with and craving for buying’, and have 'irresistible' urges to buy things, even when they can't afford.
Astrid Muller, Lead investigator of Hannover Medical School, said: "It really is time to recognise BSD as a separate mental health condition. We hope our results showing the prevalence of addictive online shopping will encourage research."
Pamela Roberts, Addictions therapist at The Priory Hospital in Woking, said: "People with oniomania feel completely ruled by the compulsion to shop and spend, either for themselves or by excessive gifting to others.
"The time – let alone the emotional stress – involved in searching, social media scrolling, visiting shops, juggling credit card bills, hiding purchases from family and returning goods can cause severe disruption.
"It can lead to serious debt, dysfunctional family life, and neglected or over-indulged children’’ Roberts added.