The concept of buying-shopping disorder (BSD) – which is characterised by an insatiable obsession with purchasing consumer goods – is hardly new, with a recent meta-analysis suggests impacts five per cent of the population. But the growth of e-commerce, shopping apps and home delivery has added a new dimension to the issue. Researchers believe that availability, anonymity, accessibility, and affordability of online shopping has contributed to the development of an online subtype of BSD.
In a study published in Comprehensive Psychiatry, researchers looked at 122 patients who were seeking help for their addiction to online shopping and found that one third of patients were categorised as having probable online BSD. The findings also showed that patients exhibiting online BSD symptoms reported higher levels of anxiety and depression.
BSD isn't currently classified as a seperate mental health condition but falls into the category of ‘other specified impulse control disorder’. Attempts to curb BSD are often unsuccessful despite experiences of post-purchase guilt and regret, reduced quality of life, hoarding habits, family division, work issues and financial problems, to name only a few of the negative consequences.
"It really is time to recognise BSD as separate mental health condition and to accumulate further knowledge about BSD on the internet," lead researcher Dr Astrid Müller told the Daily Mail.
"We hope that our results showing that the prevalence of addictive online shopping among treatment-seeking patients with BSD will encourage future research addressing the distinct phenomenological characteristics, underlying features, associated comorbidity and specific treatment concepts."
If you might be struggling with addition talk to your GP or head to SMART Recovery for more information.