Workman and Paper (2010) indicated that such compulsive behaviors entail desperate effort to address underlying issues that have remained unresolved for a long time. Compulsive buyers are different from impulsive buyers because impulse buying is often triggered by external stimuli, which when consumed once, the internal desire becomes satisfied. Even though impulsive buyers are engaged in the recreational or incidental form of uncontrolled buying, their unbudgeted purchases are performed with little or no intention. This is often coupled with inadvertent mood states often in contrast with the better judgment of the buyer.
However, compulsive buyers engage in irrational albeit unconscious and uncontrollable spending spree in an attempt to address unresolved negative feelings of anxiety and stress (Edwards, 1993). Compulsive behavior is repetitive and incessant, sometimes obsessive. This would not satisfy the unresolved compelling and underlying desire within. Moreover, anxieties become increasingly overwhelming to these individuals when faced with difficulties in life and therefore would seek to ward off pent-up anxieties through engaging in shopping spree as a matter of consolation. Excess TV watching makes people believe that material possessions are necessary for life.
This explains why consumers use to purchase goods in order to achieve satisfaction (Jansson-Boyd, 2009). Recognition of compulsive buying as a mental disorder by incorporating it into editions of DSM has significant consequences because the medical, legal and health care fraternities would recognize it as a mental illness. This implies that pharmaceutical companies would market new drugs for the condition, with healthcare providers shifting from therapy towards drug covering. In fact, clinical trials are currently being conducted by researchers and are mainly sponsored by pharmaceutical corporations.
There exist no official criteria for drug testing and diagnosis for this condition because the condition is said to be non-existent. Compulsive buying is a unique activity fuelled by society and is unlike alcohol and drug consumption or gambling and to some degree sexual intercourse.
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