Compulsive Buying Disorder

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    What is Compulsive Buying Disorder?

    People with Compulsive Buying Disorder (CBD, sometimes called Compulsive Shopping Disorder) frequently have an overwhelming drive to buy things regardless of the consequences.

    Characteristics of compulsive shopping disorder include:

    • Difficulty avoiding making unnecessary purchases
    • Financial problems brought on by excessive shopping
    • Obsession with buying unnecessary goods
    • Issues at job, school, or home brought on by excessive shopping
    • Putting a lot of time into studying desired items and/or going shopping for things you don't need

    Last but not least, for a condition to be classified as compulsive buying disorder, the behaviors must not be linked to another mental health issue, such as episodes of hypomania or mania with bipolar disorder.

    The concern with shopping, prepurchase tension or anxiety, and postpurchase relief are all reported by CBD-treated people. Significant mental comorbidity, including mood and anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, eating disorders, and other impulse control disorders are all linked to CBD. Mood and substance use disorders are common in families where compulsive buying tends to run in the family. If your family experiences any of these disorders or symptoms, contact a Florida mental health counselor.

    Many compulsive shoppers use their behavior as a coping strategy to hide negative feelings including tension, anxiety, and low self-esteem. However, buying just offers them momentary comfort from their problems. The tremendous sense of remorse and shame they eventually experience as a result of their inability to restrain their purchasing is frequently felt by patients with CBD.

    When does the behavior become abnormal?

    Many people occasionally go on shopping sprees, especially around special occasions. You are not a compulsive shopper, however, just because you occasionally overspend. In actuality, the amount of money spent has little to do with obsessive purchasing.

    The severity of the preoccupation, the degree of emotional anguish, and the emergence of negative outcomes are what actually define the illness. Many people who shop compulsively also have one of the following co-occurring mental health issues:

    • disorders
    • Eating disorders, including bulimia and binge eating disorder
    • Impulse control disorders
    • Mood disorders
    • Personality disorders
    • Substance abuse disorders


    There is some evidence that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help persons with compulsive shopping realize how they use shopping as a coping method and learn more effective coping mechanisms. You can employ various self-help techniques to manage your symptoms if you struggle with compulsive buying.

  • Create new interests: The majority of obsessive shoppers start out when they are bored or agitated. Try to find a healthier alternative if you use shopping as a way to unwind or for pleasure.
  • Follow a list: Make a list of the items you'll need in advance of any store visits you must make, and then set a goal for yourself to stay to it.
  • Ask for Accountability: If it seems impossible to keep to your plan and just purchase what you need, consider asking a supportive buddy to go with you. Ask your friend to assist in holding you responsible. Even better, if a family member is capable of handling the duty of doing the grocery shopping while you seek therapy, assign the task to them.
  • Stick with cash: Set aside some cash each week and save your credit cards for unexpected expenses only. When you have a small quantity of cash in your wallet and no credit cards nearby, you'll be far less likely to engage in compulsive spending.
  • Block and unsubscribe: Shopping from anywhere at any time of the day is even simpler thanks to online shopping. Unsubscribe from marketing emails and use a browser extension or app to block or restrict access to the websites where you spend the most money online in order to reduce obsessive shopping.
  • It’s important to remember that there is help. If you or someone you love is experiencing increasing difficulty in your finances or relationships due to overspending and excessive shopping, reach out to a Florida psychotherapist for help.