Is Your Shopping Hobby a Dangerous Habit?

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?

{{rls}}

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:

http://www.abc.net.au/science/broadband/catalyst/asx/WhyWeBuy_hi.asx

Product Review Australia

14 thoughts on “Is Your Shopping Hobby a Dangerous Habit?”

  1. I makes sense that uncontrolled spending would be linked to a disorder. It must be a problem with impulse control and God knows a lot of people have issues with that 🙂 I wonder if they do some research to link the shopping and spending problem to other behaviors, what might show up as common links.

  2. I wonder what the medical name is for people like me, who hoard money and spend as little as possible?

    Seriously though, I’ve seen compulsive shoppers in action, and I find it sad. They’ll just go off looking for things they know they have no need for, yet they buy it anyway. It’s like this pair of shoes will be the one thing they need to bring them happiness.

    But I’m conflicted; I write a blog geared toward material consumption; so if they all stop, I’ll be out of business… lol

  3. Thanks for the video and the good read. I’m glad that there are people speaking up about this. In fact I am now blogging because I decided to start acting and do less complaining. Isn’t this technology great?

    My blog isn’t publicized yet but soon. I have a story that relates to this topic called You can save the world. But will you?

    I would like to link to your site because I like your content.

    EDITOR: That’s a well written article, feel free to link to my site 🙂

  4. Maybe a government program can be introduced where people are weened off of shopping slowly, eventually they only let you shop at the dollar store or something.

  5. My excuse for shopping has always been, “I like sparkly things”, I had no idea that it was such a problem for some people, thanks for the heads up

  6. I’ve never got the ‘shop because I can’ thing…I guess I would rather have a few really nice things and cash to live off of than a whole cupboard full of things I dont use.

    That said, I have a juicer that never gets used…

  7. Totally true, my girldriend has so many shoes and when we go shopping i am wondering al the time why we enter every shoestore for some new ones hehe…

  8. This reminds me of Sophie Kinsella’s “Shopaholic” series.

    I’d have to say that I don’t often shop for things I don’t need. I have one weakness, though: junk food. -.-;

  9. I saw an episode of Intervention on T.V. and one of the addiction was a shopaholic! She was ruining her life and had racked up several hundred thousands dollars of debt. It was crazy.

  10. It is often hard for me to control my spending. I used to buy everything I want without thinking, and what? Now my credit is ruined…

  11. Seriously though, I’ve seen compulsive shoppers in action, and I find it sad. They’ll just go off looking for things they know they have no need for, yet they buy it anyway. It’s like this pair of shoes will be the one thing they need to bring them happiness.

  12. There are people who shops because they wanted to relieve stress but if the price of their shopping worth too much that is not relieving stress that is wasting money.

  13. I think its up to government to control these sort of things and if they are not doing any thing we should do some campaign or something like that

  14. nice article but I don’t have this problem since I don’t have money to spend to…I think this maybe the best solution…

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