People can become addicted to shopping just like they can to almost anything else. The advent of internet shopping and the abundance of social media sites that are geared toward shopping only increase the probability that a person that is prone to shopping addiction will become addicted. Cecilie Schou Andreassen, Doctor of Psychology and Clinical Psychologist Specialist at the University of Bergen in Norway and colleagues from the United States, and Britain have developed a test that identifies a person as an addictive shopper in minutes. The development was reported in the Sept. 29, 2015 edition of the journal Frontiers in Psychology.
More women than men become addicted to shopping. “It is more predominant in women, and is typically initiated in late adolescence and emerging adulthood, and it appears to decrease with age.” according to Dr. Andreassen. People that are neurotic, suffer from depression, or have an anxiety disorder are more prone to become addicted to shopping. High levels of extroversion are also indicative of a predisposition toward addictive shopping as are low levels of self esteem.
The Bergen Shopping Addiction Scale measures an addiction to shopping with six simple questions that can be answered on a scale that ranges from completely agree to completely disagree. The questions include how often a person thinks about shopping, shopping to alter a person’s mood, neglect of daily responsibilities in order to shop, inability to stop shopping to excess, and impairment of well being that resulted from shopping. An agreement with four of the six questions indicates a shopping addiction.
One would expect that in time the American Medical Association will designate shopping addiction as a disease. Inevitably, treatment programs for shopping addiction will become available based on twelve step programs. The success of such programs can be measured against the five to ten percent success rate of Alcoholics Anonymous. Possibly a better solution would be to treat the anxiety, depression, and neuroticism that produces addictive shopping. One may have noticed that Christmas is already on sale on the net and in most stores.