Shopping. We all do it – but beyond basic food and shelter, why do we buy and in today’s consumerist debt-fuelled society can it become a dangerous habit that’s all to easy to satisfy?
Dr Jonica Newby from the ABC TV Science program Catalyst recently travelled to the US to meet the scientists investigating the power of the shopping instinct and how it can become so strong in some people that it can lead to similar consequences as substance abuse and gambling (psychological, financial and family problems including depression, debt and relationship break ups.)
Just after that show the Sun Herald newspaper reported:
Shoppers who have irresistible urges to frequently spend well beyond their means may have a psychiatric disorder, researchers say.
People suffering compulsive buying disorder (CBD) often have other mental problems such as depression and anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, alcoholism or other impulsive behaviours such as a gambling addiction or kleptomania.
A study last year found 5.9 per cent of Americans have a shopping addiction with nearly as many men as women affected, though women are much more likely to seek help.
You can watch the Catalyst story “Why We Buy – the Science of Shopping” by playing the Video below (9 minutes 50 seconds in length).
In the story you’ll discover how neuroscientists are discovering what TV advertising really does to your brain. In New York, anthropologists reveal what forces are acting upon us when we’re inside a shop and you can see how psychiatrists are discovering the surprising extent of serious, life destroying shopping addiction:
If you can’t see the video player than you should open this URL in Windows Media Player: