Online Shopping Addiction Is A Mental Health Condition, Psychotherapists Claim

Alfie PowellAlfie Powell in News, World
Published 15.11.19
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Experts are saying that being addicted to online shopping is a genuine mental health condition just as, I would argue, every addiction is.

Turns out I’m ill, everybody. A sick young man.

I’m being facetious of course, and this dramatic revelation comes courtesy of Dr Müller, a psychotherapist at Hannover Medical School in Germany.

Müller conducted a study between 122 people who were seeking help for their online shopping addiction, and found that many of them also suffered from the likes of anxiety and depression.

online shopping addiction

The researchers found that the boom of online shops, apps and fast delivery only served to make things worse, feeding into shopaholics’ tendencies to constantly buy things.

Along with that, since the internet doesn’t have the same drawbacks as physical shops, it’s not governed by closing times or even the need to leave the house to visit.

The internet is also home to a greater and cheaper range of products and appeals to a younger audience given that it’s always available, affecting an estimated 5% of the population.

At the present, buying-shopping disorder (BSD) isn’t recognised as its own illness, currently falling into the ‘other specified impulse control disorder’ bracket.

With that, Dr Müller is pressing to have BSD recognised as a genuine mental health condition, believing that in this internet age it’s more and more prevalent and the instant gratification of craving for something and then immediately buying it could be very harmful.

The cravings then feed into a loss of self-control, which can flare up in other walks of live and in turn, become extremely distressing, causing other psychiatric problems.

bsd addiction

Dr Müller told MailOnline:

It really is time to recognise BSD as separate mental health condition and to accumulate further knowledge about BSD on the internet.

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.”

Images via Getty

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