Online shopping addiction 'is a mental health condition', psychotherapists claim

Whether it’s ASOS or Amazon, when it comes to shopping these days, many of us will turn to the internet.

But while some people only occasionally shop online, it seems that for others the habit is becoming an addiction - so much so that experts believe that it should be classed as a ‘mental health condition.’

Researchers from Hannover Medical School claim that the so-called ‘buying-shopping disorder’ (BSD) should have its own classification, rather than its current listing as ‘other specified impulse control disorder.’

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Dr Astrid Muller, who led the study, said: “It really is time to recognise BSD as separate mental health condition and to accumulate further knowledge about BSD on the Internet.”

The condition is characterised by an extreme preoccupation with, and craving for, shopping, as well as urges to own certain goods.

Worryingly, people with the condition also tend to buy more than they can afford or use.

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And in the long run, the condition can lead to extreme distress, family issues, hoarding of goods and even embezzlement, according to the researchers.

In the study, the researchers analysed data from earlier studies reporting on 122 patients seeking treatment for BSD.

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The researchers hope their findings will encourage mental health experts to explore the condition, especially given the reason boom in the online shopping industry.

Dr. Muller added: "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."

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