Online shopping addiction should be recognized as a mental health condition


  • Experts claim that obsession with online shopping should be acknowledged now as a mental health disorder.
  • Based on a German study of patients with online shopping addictions, these people were noted to have higher than the usual risks of developing depression and anxiety.
  • Researchers also argue that ‘buying-shopping disorder’ (BSD) should merit more attention especially when one in 20 people are affected.

For decades, psychotherapists argued that addiction to online shopping should now be recognized as an actual mental disorder.

While ‘buying-shopping disorder’ (BSD) has been accepted over the past years, experts say the condition has become more significant especially in the internet age where one in 20 people are affected.

‘It really is time to recognize BSD as separate mental health condition and to accumulate further knowledge about BSD on the Internet,’ said Dr. Astrid Müller, a psychotherapist at Hannover Medical School in Germany.

A study published in the journal Comprehensive Psychiatry by German researchers examined 122 patients looking for help for their online shopping cravings. Data revealed that these individuals were found to have higher rates of depression and anxiety.

The findings may be due to the fact that when spending money, people obsessed with online shopping can develop extreme cravings and the irresistible urge to own consumer goods. This can result in completely losing self-control, extreme stress, a break down in relationships, hoarding the things they buy, debt and other psychiatric problems.

Furthermore, shops online which work 24 /7 has even made shopping more accessible, anonymous and affordable. With high prices slashed by huge amounts in sites like Amazon and Boohoo, people can buy almost anything online.

Because of this, even younger people are now exhibiting signs of BSD, says Dr. Muller and team.

BSD is currently classified under a category named ‘other specified impulse control disorder’, and not a disorder itself. However, it warrants more serious attention it affects five percent of the population with serious mental effects.

 “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,” said Dr. Muller.


Source: Daily Mail

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