Scottish Daily Mail

Shopaholic? No... you’ve just got OBD*

That’s Obsessive Buying Disorder)

- By Victoria Allen Science Correspond­ent

SHOPAHOLIC­S really do exist, experts say, with some feeling the urge to spend so strongly that they can be considered to have a health disorder.

A global team of psychologi­sts and clinicians establishe­d a list of symptoms for what they term compulsive buying-shopping disorder.

The tell-tale signs for the condition, which may affect as many as one in 20 of us, include spending more than you intend and buying items which are then never used.

Shopaholic­s – a term the researcher­s did not use – lie about their spending, go on secret shopping sprees and hide their purchases from others.

In addition, the rise of internet shopping has led to a slew of new behaviours, including people ‘losing’ hours of the day researchin­g products online.

Study senior author Professor Mike Kyrios, of Australia’s Flinders University, said: ‘Clients who show excessive buying behaviour commonly have difficulti­es in regulating their emotions, so buying or shopping is then used to feel better.’

But he added: ‘If someone with compulsive buying-shopping disorder goes shopping, this will improve their negative feelings but will soon lead to feelings of shame and guilt.’

The study, in the Journal of Behavioral

Addictions, is hailed as a ‘gamechange­r’ for research in the area, leading to improved diagnoses.

A ‘pathologic­al propensity to buy’ among some people was first described by German psychiatri­st Emil Kraepelin in 1899.

To create a draft list of criteria for compulsive shoppers, 138 experts from 35 countries were asked to vote on symptoms.

If more than three-quarters of them, and more than three-quarters of the biggest experts, agreed a symptom was important, it was included in the list.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom