What is Compulsive Spending Disorder? Are you spending money to uplift your bad mood? Do you sometimes hide purchases from your family? Are “sale” offers too attractive to you? Are your budget limitations irrelevant? If you say yes, then you are suffering from Compulsive Spending disorder, shopping addiction, or pathological buying.
Data about Compulsive Spending Disorder
As per a 2013 survey, the Huffington Post found that nearly one in three Americans shop to deal with stress and anxiety. In 2018, a survey of 2,000 American adults, sponsored by Slickdeals, found that respondents blow $5,400 annually on impulse buying.
If we look further, studies show that both extroversion and neuroticism stimulate shopping addiction. On one hand, extroverts engage in excessive spending to boost social status. On the other, neurotic individuals shop to combat negative emotions. Finally, People with low self-esteem or depression find gratification in excessive shopping, also called retail therapy.
Above it all, people are trapped in massive materialism and are in a race to “keep up with the Joneses”. Furthermore, the digital wave has revolutionized shopping, with m-commerce becoming so accessible and convenient, propelled by factors like social media, credit cards, e-wallets, and hyper-targeted marketing. A 2018 poll by CreditCards.com found that 44% of Americans have made an unplanned purchase on the internet in the past three months. In the past month, 29% have done so and 14% in the past seven days.
It is no wonder that the pandemic has accelerated the shift to online shopping. As a coping mechanism, many people opted to make unnecessary spending. A recent survey by Credit Karma found that 35% of respondents made impulse buys to deal with stress during the coronavirus.
Mental Wellness and Compulsive Spending
It is undeniable that compulsive buying provides an initial rush of endorphins and dopamine. However, that temporary feeling of excitement gradually turns into emotional distress, guilt, and shame. Eventually, it begins to outweigh the sense of self-control, leading to feelings of anxiety, and relationship conflicts.
According to the 2013 Credit Donkey survey, 36.7% of respondents have experienced guilt or shame after shopping. Moreover, 20.5% hid purchases from their families, and 26.7% checked available credit at least once a week.
If you cannot resist the temptation of compulsive buying it is a good idea to seek help through self-learning and self-help, or even through professional help if the self-help is not giving enough desired results.
Authored by Ekta Bhatia
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