Shopping can bring people a sense of pleasure, but out-of-control excessive buying behavior may be identified as a disease. The picture is a situational photo, and the people in the picture are not related to this article.

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Text/Chen Shaozu

As soon as the friends met, they began to complain, complaining that their family had maxed out two credit cards in the past two months, counting all kinds of purchases from department store anniversaries, Double 11, Black Friday (Black Friday), Double 12 to Christmas. thing.

I feel like my family members are addicted to buying and can’t stop buying. Even the usually frugal elderly people see advertisements on social media platforms (such as Line, FB, etc.) and click in to buy something.

In order to stimulate consumption, capitalists create many reasons to spend money, from the early Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, to the various consumption schedules mentioned above. Nowadays, people’s inevitable behavior is influenced by commercial advertisements and social culture, but there are still some reasons for buying behavior. Clear individual differences, uncontrolled excessive buying behavior may be identified as a disease.

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After "pathological gambling" and "internet gaming disorder" are included in the formal diagnosis of behavioral addiction, compulsive buying/shopping disorder may also be included in the formal diagnosis of mental illness in the future.

In addition to "strong and persistent shopping impulse and desire" and "out of control shopping behavior", the symptoms also include: buying items that do not match the original purpose, using shopping to adjust emotions when you are in a bad mood, and causing important interpersonal relationships due to excessive shopping. and impaired family functioning.

There is no local epidemiological information on compulsive buying disorder in Taiwan.

Data from the United States show that the prevalence rate is about 5.8%, and women are significantly more than men.

Some scholars believe that this stems from the psychological differences between men and women. Women prefer the process of "shopping and shopping", while men prefer the process of "collecting".

Accumulated over time, pathological buyers may develop into hoarders later in life.

Clinical studies have pointed out that the proportion of patients with compulsive buying disorder who also suffer from anxiety disorders or depression is 60% and 32%, respectively.

It is true that when these patients are depressed and irritable, the only way to relieve their anger is to spend a lot of money on shopping, but this often leads to more regret, self-blame and anxiety.

In order to avoid pathological shopping behaviors, we should start by improving personal mental health first. Do not avoid personal anxiety disorders and depression, and actively treat them. If you still cannot get rid of the influence of negative emotions, you should consider giving up credit-based consumption and adopting instead. Cash consumption, so that you can feel the pressure of consumption.

Rational-based "planned buying" can improve impulsive and happy pathological buying behaviors.

Improving relationships in the family can reduce guilt shopping behavior.

Some people criticize psychiatrists for constantly defining new diseases, allowing more people to become patients, thereby earning more money, but in fact, the emergence of new diseases is closely related to the evolution of society and culture. The identification of a new disease is to provide medical treatment Consensus on systemic diagnosis and treatment is very important for epidemiological research investigations, insurance premium payments, and government allocation of medical resources.

◎Pathological shopping models are divided into 5 types:

●Impulsive type: Buyers usually buy something they can not buy because of impulse.

When they buy, they do not fully consider the necessity of expenditure.

●Happy type: shoppers will feel a burst of excitement when buying.

The euphoria that comes not from owning something but from the act of buying it can be addictive.

●Melancholy: Shopping to fill an emotional void, such as loneliness, anger, or low self-esteem.

The decrease in negative emotions is temporary, soon followed by an increase in anxiety and guilt.

●Guilty type: Buyers use a large number of purchases to make up for possible guilt due to regret for someone or something, so as to compensate for the shortcomings of others.

●Painless type: Using credit payment or installment payment when purchasing, people often feel indifferent to the price of consumption, and do not feel the bitter fruit of improper shopping until the bill is due to be paid.

(The author is an assistant professor at the Department of Medicine, Tzu Chi University, and director of the Department of Addiction Psychiatry, Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital)

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