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World Psychiatry. 2007 Feb;6(1):14-8.

A review of compulsive buying disorder.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


Compulsive buying disorder (CBD) is characterized by excessive shopping cognitions and buying behavior that leads to distress or impairment. Found worldwide, the disorder has a lifetime prevalence of 5.8% in the US general population. Most subjects studied clinically are women (~80%), though this gender difference may be artifactual. Subjects with CBD report a preoccupation with shopping, prepurchase tension or anxiety, and a sense of relief following the purchase. CBD is associated with significant psychiatric comorbidity, particularly mood and anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, eating disorders, and other disorders of impulse control. The majority of persons with CBD appear to meet criteria for an Axis II disorder, although there is no special "shopping" personality. Compulsive shopping tends to run in families, and these families are filled with mood and substance use disorders. There are no standard treatments. Psychopharmacologic treatment studies are being actively pursued, and group cognitive-behavioral models have been developed and are promising. Debtors Anonymous, simplicity circles, bibliotherapy, financial counseling, and marital therapy may also play a role in the management of CBD.

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