Compulsive shopping: the causes

Several causes may be the cause of compulsive shopping.

A constant call to overconsumption

There is not one cause, but several causes for the repetition of compulsive shopping. Like eating disorders, the media and advertising pressure certainly favored the appearance of this socially valued disorder.

It is almost impossible not to be influenced by a constant call to overconsumption! The wave of consumer credit, which appeared a few years ago, has only added to this fascination with acquisition by creating the illusion of an expanded purchasing power.

No less responsible: high speed fashion. Far from facilitating the management of our budget, it openly encourages us to buy ... to better replace. From ephemeral collections to almost weekly novelties, it's hard not to be tempted! Observe the increasingly rapid turnover of tablets and other smartphones! Is the thirst for novelty not stimulated?

Internal fragility

Even if all the conditions are there to encourage compulsive buying, we do not become all addicted to shopping. In reality, compulsive shopping often occurs in response to an intolerance to frustration. This can be associated with a difficulty in managing emotions and a lack of self-confidence, more or less conscious. Like addictions, the causes are therefore often psychological, even if the genetic susceptibility is presumed.

Compulsive shopping may be a reflection of a hidden depression, a cyclothymia, a passing blues, and a low self-esteem. The coveted object then takes the role of a bandage of the soul. The acquisition of the latter reassures, soothes, and occupies, setting aside negative emotions.

Some character traits also favor this type of behavior. Impulsivity and difficulty in coping with frustration are the main ones. Acting in the moment without premeditation is a particularity of compulsive buyers, and not only in the field of shopping.

Purchasing dependence is frequently associated with other psychological disorders such as:

  • OCD (or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
  • Cyclothymia: an atypical form of bipolarity
  • Internet addiction
  • Attentive Impairment with or without Hyperactivity (ADD / H) in Adults
  • The Depression
  • Bulimia

Compulsive purchases are part of behavioral addictions (or "product-free" addictive behaviors) along with pathological gambling, Internet addiction and eating disorders.

The object is different but the mechanism is the same. According to a scientific study, the neurobiological abnormalities encountered in compulsive buyers are similar to those encountered in gambling addicts. Among the molecules affected by these alterations in the brain, there is serotonin and dopamine.

Compulsive buying therefore appears as the point of appeal of an underlying, transient or prolonged fragility. And as long as we have not realized or resolved this hidden difficulty, the addiction will continue, clumsily dressing the wound.

You want to react, to give your testimony or to ask a question? Appointment in our FORUMS Psychology or A psychiatrist answers you !

Read also :

Cyclothymia: when the mood comes and goes
Depression: how to cope?
Test: Do you suffer from a eating disorder?

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