In the last few years, increasing numbers of us have been turning to the internet to fuel our shopping addiction. And the situation is so severe, in fact, that the experts believe it should be classed as a mental health condition, the MailOnline reports.
This hypothesis follows a study of 122 patients seeking help for their online shopping addictions.
Dr Müller, a psychotherapist at Hannover Medical School in Germany, and her colleagues conducted the study and discovered that those struggling with online shopping addiction had higher rates of depression and anxiety.Listen to the story of a self-confessed shopaholic who admits to having hit "rock bottom":
The researchers explain that this addiction has been exacerbated by the rise of online retailers, apps and home delivery. The internet is available 24 hours a day and so customers can indulge in their shopping fix practically anytime they want, without even having to leave the comfort of their home.
There's also the argument that online retailers generally offer better deals than stores on the high street, making them more accessible to those without tons of cash to spare.
In any case, Dr Müller and her colleagues believe that buying-shopping disorder (BSD) has gone under the radar for too long and should be given the attention it deserves.
As part of the findings, the researchers explain BSD revolves around extreme cravings for buying items and feeling a sense of satisfaction when spending money.
Speaking of the findings, as per the MailOnline, Dr Müller said:
"It really is time to recognise BSD as separate mental health condition and to accumulate further knowledge about BSD on the internet. We hope that our results showing that the prevalence of addictive online shopping among treatment-seeking patients with BSD will encourage future research addressing the distinct phenomenological characteristics, underlying features, associated comorbidity and specific treatment concepts."
The research was published in the journal, Comprehensive Psychiatry