Is your wife a shopaholic? Soon you may be able to treat this mental illness with a pill. Unfortunately, the pill will cost $1467 and will only be available in mall stores.
If you’ve ever bought items that you really didn’t need, or bought huge quantities of items based on large discounts or other factors, some may brand you a "shopaholic." Now, some psychiatrists are pushing to label excessive shopping a mental imbalance that needs to be treated with prescription drugs.
There may be more than 10 million people in the United States psychologists classify as "shopaholics," according to a study published this month in the American Journal of Psychiatry. These people shop compulsively, buy things they do not need and often cannot afford; the unnecessary purchases can result in the jeopardizing of their jobs, finances, families and mental health.
Many researchers argue that categorizing binge buying as a strictly mental problem takes the focus away from social factors, such as the impact of advertising, easy credit and commercialization.
A new study looking at compulsive shopping was conducted by Lorrin Koran, a psychiatrist at Stanford University. One of Koran’s conclusions was that some people who end up in financial bankruptcy are binge buyers — and that they suffer from a disease similar to alcoholism. That fact, according to Koran and his team, should mitigate these people’s responsibilities for the debts they run up as a result of compulsive shopping.
The American Psychiatric Association is considering whether to list compulsive buying as a new kind of disorder — a move that will be added to the debate about whether psychiatry is turning every aspect of human behavior into a disease.
"With this latest disease mongering scheme, drug companies and psychiatrists will try to convince anyone who has ever made an impulse purchase that they are suffering from a brain chemistry disorder requiring chemical treatment," explained Mike Adams, a consumer health advocate.
"Yet the real mental illness is in psychiatry itself, where greedy practitioners push utterly fictitious disease labels onto countless victims, then drug them with dangerous psychotropic drugs."