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How Many People Have Compulsive Buying Disorder?

Do you ever feel a compulsion to buy something that you don't need? What if you know you don't really have the money for it? Do you buy it anyway?

If this happens once, maybe it's not a defining feature of your life. If it becomes a habit, though, it may be that you're suffering from Compulsive Buying Disorder. Some call this a shopping addiction.

What is Compulsive Buying Disorder?

Compulsive Buying Disorder (CBD) is defined by excessive buying to a dysfunctional level. Sufferers of CBD experience an uncontrollable urge to engage in buying behaviors, which lead to problems with the person's social life and finances. 

In short, it means you can't help spending money. You have a compulsion to buy new goods and spend the money that you have, regardless of what you already own, what you actually need, what you can afford or what financial means you have.

This condition is similar to addictive disorders, like gambling or disordered eating. It is also frequently co-morbid, or occurring alongside depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders. 

The Impact of Compulsive Buying Disorder

If you feel like this, you're not alone. Some experts note that about 18 million American adults suffer from this disorder. Historical figures like Mary Todd Lincoln are thought to have suffered from Compulsive Buying Disorder. 

It can lead to all manner of financial issues. People can rack up credit card debt, see their homes fall into foreclosure and ruin their credit scores. They may end up borrowing money from people they know, perhaps saying they're going to pay off their debt -- when they're really just going to buy something else they don't need.

It's a tricky situation. You know you shouldn't spend, but it's an addiction, just like alcoholism or anything else. It feels, at times, like it's out of your hands.

Managing the Fallout

If you believe you have Compulsive Buying Disorder, there are treatment options available. Self-awareness and therapy, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy, have proven to help suffers of this disorder. It is also important to address any co-morbid anxiety, depression, and other disorders that may further trigger CBD symptoms.

Your compulsive buying behaviors may have already wrecked havoc on your finances. As you work to get a handle on your finances, it's important to think about all of the debt relief options you have. That may include declaring bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. These options can give you a fresh start if you've kicked the habit and you're ready to build your credit back up.