Shop ’Til You Go Broke – 

November 22, 2019 – 122 patients who had sought treatment for compulsive shopping and found 33.6 per cent showed signs of an addiction to online shopping. Researchers linked it to more acute levels of anxiety and depression.  “Patients with BSD (buying shopping disorder) buy more consumer goods than they can afford.  The excessive purchasing is primarily used to regulate emotions, for example to get pleasure (or) relief from negative feelings.  Parallels are being drawn between BSD and gaming disorder, which was classified in 2018 by the World Health Organisation. Dr Cyrus Abbasian, Consultant Psychiatrist and Addiction Specialist at the Nightingale Hospital who also works for the NHS, says that while the compulsion to online shop is a real problem, it’s important to not throw the word addiction around too loosely. Dr Abbasian says the issue is for it to be classified as a problem on its own. “When a patient comes in with an addiction, I look for dual diagnosis. I want to know if anxiety disorder is there, depression, even psychosis driving them into becoming addicts. With online shopping, when someone comes to me and they are shopping excessively, I ask whether they needed what they purchased, how they felt before and after, whether there was any craving, any release of anxiety, to gauge if there is an underlying mental health problem.”

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