For the psychiatric diagnosis it is essential that no longer the possession of the goods is the action goal, but the liberation of an imperative urge the buying action itself, the futility of doing makes clear in this respect the shopping addiction is different from consumerism. Efforts of will do not help nevertheless. If an addicted is prevented from buying action, there will be withdrawal symptoms, in the form of vegetative arousal. Usually a particular department (e.g., shoes) are preferred. The objects are far in excess of requirements are often purchased and stored unpacked or even thrown away.
Estimates of the incidence of the disease in industrialized nations are about 1 percent of the population. In the Federal Republic of Germany a study classified 5 percent as “strong buy looking at risk“ (based on the old federal states), of which 90 percent are women. A later study in 2006 at Stanford University showed that 48 percent of men share an almost balanced statistics.
The treatment is usually based on behavioral and social assistance. Especially in the United States psychotropic drugs (antidepressants) are used regularly. In Germany, the most common method as a support group therapy is chosen where you advised by former department of the addiction as shopping addiction is not recognized as an illness in Germany.
The University Hospital Erlangen (Psychosomatic and Psychotherapeutic Department) has developed a special treatment and its effectiveness is proven scientifically. Nearly half of Shopaholic-patient get help through the group therapy and manage to put their buying behavior under control. The therapy relies on surrogate activities. Six to eight participants per group learning in twelve weekly therapy hours to find replacement jobs, about to make exercise or to go drinking coffee with friends. These are a ‘valve’ for them to vent their impulse. Shopaholic goes to a disorder of impulse control (as well as for pyromania (pathological arson) and kleptomania (compulsive urge to steal) back to the purchase is often preceded by a feeling of intense excitement or tension followed by deep satisfaction and happiness.
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