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Definition of Compulsive shopping

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Compulsive shopping: An obsession with shopping that significantly interferes with the functioning of the individual. The signs are a preoccupation with shopping; anxiety when not shopping; a constant need for a shopping "fix"; shopping to excess that results in debt and family or marital discord; and the frequent purchase of items that go unused. Although there is debate as to whether compulsive shopping is a mental disorder, there is evidence that use of an antidepressant medication tends to lessen anxiety and decrease or stop compulsive shopping.

Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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