What Is Compulsive Buying?

Compulsive Buying Disorder And Its Adverse Consequences

Have you ever bought something out of just the desire to purchase but in the end regretted it? Is that considered compulsive buying? Are you one of the thousands of compulsive shoppers in the world? The American Psychiatric Association reports that excessive spending is considered a behavioral addiction or one of the types of addictive disorders that require help from a mental health professional. It apparently manifests in people who have negative emotions or low self-esteem. Some of them cope by engaging in impulse buying to cover their personal distress.

Purchasing things excessively. Have you ever bought something out of impulse but in the end regretted it?Source: pexels.com

How serious is compulsive buying disorder when it comes to your mental health?

Compulsive Buying – A Problematic Behavior

I can recount countless seasons when my mother was besides herself scrambling to get the perfect gifts for each of us in the family. The stress to fulfill the ever growing list for gifts oftentimes overcame the joy that is supposed to be at the root of the holidays. — Azadeh Aalai Ph.D.

We engage in spending sprees at some point, but some Americans are suffering from what we call obsessive purchasing or compulsive shopping and they buy unnecessary items and things that they don’t need. These people have the uncontrollable urge to spend their hard-earned money on irrelevant things like the ninth pair of shoes, new gadgets, and such. They compulsively buy things to satisfy their emotional needs (the negative feelings) which can only last a moment. Most compulsive buyers regret purchasing something out of an impulse, resulting in the desire to do it again hoping they can buy something more fulfilling; hence, this often becomes a vicious cycle.

Causes And Symptoms: Compulsively Purchasing Causes Anxiety Disorders And Other Mental Illnesses

A person with compulsive buying disorder may experience anxiety which can cause him to feel negative emotions, like worry or fear for uncertain reasons.

Their anxiety may cause obsessive purchasing to appease the feeling of nervousness.

A person may feel down and sad that he may find happiness in compulsive buying of unnecessary items. This may give them satisfaction and temporary relief from their depression and other negative emotions.

Source: pexels.com

shopping addiction and impulse control disorders

Obsessive purchasing may improve a person’s low self-esteem and overall mental health when he engages in spending sprees. Impulse control disorder is a behavioral addiction that is considered a mental health condition, as it may result in other addictions and mental disorders like mood disorders, alcohol abuse, and even gambling addiction.

He thinks that spending money makes him feel good despite his financial problems

People who have found compulsive shopping to be an avenue of distraction use compulsive buying as an emotional regulation system. Compulsive buying is the thread or the glue that holds the emotional regulation system together when a person would typically “fall apart” or fragment. — Angela R. Wurtzel, MA, MFT

Obsession – The Compulsive Shopper

There is an obsession with having a new item. A person may see or hear about a must-have and doesn’t stop until he gets it resulting in obsessive buying behavior.

Compulsive buying is a reaction to the uncontrollable urge to purchase something. A person may not think about his action twice because he believes that purchasing a particular item will satisfy or fulfill his emotional need.

Too much spending can affect us financially. It may be the reason why some of us do not have savings or could not afford to buy the necessary things in life such as a house, car, or medical insurance. Compulsive buyers often spend the money they get thinking they’ll have another at the next payday. It will cause them to not save for more essential things.

Just like other mental health problems like eating disorders and substance addictions, compulsive buying provides a certain temporary “happiness” to a person with this problem.

There is an emotional need that needs to bring to fulfillment.

A person might get anxious and distressed.

The calming focus of gratitude can help–at least with impulsive spending. A few seconds of thankfulness is not only a mood elevator, it’s a fast and simple mindfulness exercise that improves focus. — Kit Yarrow Ph.D.

Benefits Of Undergoing Therapy For Compulsion and Urge Buying

Provides Self Awareness- BE INFORMED Provides 

Therapy can provide self-awareness making you realize the root of the problem. You will then have the opportunity to confront or address the primary cause of your compulsive buying behavior. It can be your childhood or some traumatic events in life.

Emotional Assistance – SUPPORT

Compulsive buyers are emotionally distressed. There is satisfaction in purchasing things without thinking twice. When you undergo therapy, you will have constant emotional support and a reminder of what you need to do to fight the impulse.

Source: pixabay.com

Provides Reality Check

Therapy can make you realize the effects of compulsive buying. Are you drowning in debt? Are you not able to save because of overspending? Do you have an emergency fund for unexpected expenses? These are among the questions that you might be able to answer.

Some may realize that the answer to all these is NO!

Final Thoughts

If you can’t hold back the urge to buy things you don’t actually need, consider seeking professional help. Overspending or compulsive buying is a serious matter that needs attention. It hinders us from financial stability. We have to admit that money often measures success, and without it, there is a limit to the things we can do, and we may have no access to the best things in life such as excellent health care and longevity.


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