A National Directory of Drug Treatment Centers and Alcohol Treatment Centers, Therapists and Specialists. A free, simple directory providing assistance and guidance for those seeking help regarding alcohol addiction, drug addiction, dependency and many other conditions that affect the mind, body and soul.
Call 888-647-0579 to speak with an alcohol or drug abuse counselor.

Who Answers?

Is Compulsive Shopping A Mental Disorder?

There is little doubt that compulsive shopping can cause severe impairment and distress, two key criteria for formal recognition as a mental disorder.

But the rest remains up for grabs: Is compulsive shopping a biologically driven disease of the brain, a learned habit run amok, an addiction in its own right or a symptom of the other dysfunctions — most notably depression — that so often accompany it? Where is the line between avid shopping and compulsive shopping? And how, if this is an illness, is it best treated?

Compulsive buying is not recognized as a disorder by the mental health profession’s guidebook, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, generally called the DSM. That might change soon, as psychiatrists draft the next version of the DSM, due out sometime after 2010.

In anticipation, researchers and academic practitioners are exploring and debating what the cause of such a condition might be, how widespread it is and how best to diagnose, characterize and treat it. A decision to adopt compulsive shopping as a diagnosis would require most private and public health insurers to cover its treatment, spur new research on the phenomenon and very likely escalate what is now a modest search by pharmaceutical companies for drugs that could curb its symptoms.

Psychiatric Disorders
While experts debate how compulsive buying is related to psychiatric disorders, there is little doubt that they often go hand in hand.

Psychiatrist Timothy Fong, director of the Impulse Control Disorders Clinic at the University of California, Los Angeles, says that probably 40 percent to 50 percent of patients in treatment at the clinic have a major psychiatric disorder accompanying their out-of-control buying behavior. A French study published in 1997 found that of 119 patients hospitalized for depression, almost 32 percent would meet proposed standards for the diagnosis of compulsive shopping. A pair of 1994 studies found that among subjects who met proposed standards for compulsive shopping, roughly two-thirds also could be diagnosed with anxiety, substance abuse or mood disorders, impulse-control disorders such as kleptomania or pyromania, or with disorders marked by obsessive-compulsive behaviors.

“What’s unclear,” especially where depression is present, “is which came first,” says Fong.

Equally unclear is how to treat a condition with such seemingly varied and uncertain origins. Psychotherapy appears to help, and treating other psychological problems with medication and therapy is widely viewed as essential. Preliminary studies have found that antidepressants that increase the availability of the neurochemical serotonin in the brain can ease shopping compulsion. And naltrexone, a drug that blunts the inebriating effects of alcohol, has shown modest effectiveness in curbing the urge to shop.

But Dr. Lorrin Koran, a professor of psychiatry (emeritus) at Stanford University, stressed that, in many cases, these medications have been scarcely more effective than placebos. That suggests that for many compulsive shoppers, awareness of the problem, encouragement from others and personal motivation might be as powerful as drugs.

“Even though we don’t have conclusive proof that one treatment or another works better than another, we do know that people tend to get better if they seek treatment,” says Koran. Much of the cognitive behavioral therapy that has shown promise has focused shoppers on “changing the self-talk” — the things a compulsive shopper tells himself or herself to justify a trip to the store or a purchase — and finding other ways to react to sadness, anger or frustration.

That sadness might spur excess spending was neatly demonstrated in an experiment conducted by researchers at Harvard, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh and published in the June issue of Psychological Science.

In short, misery appears to make people less miserly, not more, the authors concluded — especially when the miserable were very focused on their feelings of sadness. Sad consumers, they suggested, are likely to think less of themselves and thus might be more motivated to boost their self-image with a pricey purchase.
_____________
Copyright © 2008, The Los Angeles Times

More Treatment & Detox Articles

Could this pill Cure alcoholism?

Doctor drinking himself into an early grave tells of his ‘fairy tale’ recovery Alcoholism affects one in 20 adults and is notoriously difficult to treat. Leading American cardiologist Dr Olivier Ameisen was a compulsive drinker for years until he was ‘cured’, he says, by a drug commonly prescribed for muscle spasm. His claims have created….

Continue reading

Alcoholism: Losing Old Friends to Stay Sober

Alcoholism, like many addictions, is a disease of reinforcement. When you take drugs or alcohol, you feel better and when you stop drinking, you miss the feeling. By this same mechanism, the people you associate with can start to reinforce your drinking behavior. Even though, for many, alcoholism ends up being a disease of solitude….

Continue reading

‘Teach’ over fives about alcohol

A whisky expert has called for children aged five and over to be “educated” about alcohol in a bid to combat its misuse. Whyte and Mackay master blender Richard Paterson said it was important to shape children’s behaviour around alcohol from a young age. Mr Paterson said:”We need to talk to young people about the….

Continue reading

How Does Heroin Addiction Begin & When Does it End?

heroin detox

The Beginning of Heroin Addiction Heroin is highly addictive and is one of the most abused drugs in America. Not only is heroin highly addictive but it also creates rapid dependency levels to form in a person and a person’s body develops tolerance levels quickly to the drug. Due to all of these factors a….

Continue reading

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser.

By calling the helpline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. There is no obligation to enter treatment.

I NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE NOWI NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE NOW 888-647-0579Response time about 1 min | Response rate 100%
Who Answers?