Friday, May 10, 2013


        What is compulsive buying? 

It is also called oniomania, shopping addiction or compulsive shopping. This disorder characterized by unscrupulous buying usually with use of several of a lot of credit cards and landing in serious financial difficulty which usually leads to bankruptcy. There is as such no diagnostic category of compulsive buying in both two recognised manuals of ICD 10 and DSM-4.
The proposed criteria for this disorder equate it with impulse control disorder in which there is mounting tension to do the wrong work with anticipatory relief from anxiety.
The patient's time is frequently occupied with buying or urge to buy. This urges are irresistible. The buying is of the amount which cannot be afforded. The items bought are usually not needed. There is marked distress, time consumption and socio occupational dysfunction. The diagnosis is made when there is no other associated physical or mental disorder.
This disorder occurs in about 2% of general population and it commonly affects women. Age of onset is late teens but can also occur in 20’s or 30’s.
The buyer usually tries to control the behavior but in vain. Early diagnosis is useful to prevent further damage.

Treatment of compulsive buying-

Treatment of this disorder is difficult.
        a)      Non medicinal treatment includes supportive therapy and self-help groups like Debtors anonymous.
        b)      Medicinal treatment includes- antidepressants particularly SSRI, anxiolytics, anti-mania drugs, anti-psychotics.
Average debt on a patient estimated is around 25000 dollars
Wishing you a healthy life
Dr Hitesh Sharma
MBBS, MD (Psychiatry) 
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