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The psychology of shopping addiction

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https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/psychology-shopping-addiction

bigthink.com

The psychology of shopping addiction
Shopping might be one of the most socially acceptable addictions, but it's still a very powerful one that up to 6% of our population struggles with. Shopping addiction is a predominantly female problem, with around 90% of shopaholics being women.

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Different types of "shopaholics"

  • Compulsive shoppers: Buying when they are feeling emotional distress.
  • Trophy shoppers: They are always looking for the next great item.
  • ...

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Socially acceptable

Socially acceptable

Shopping can be socially acceptable because consumerism is continually pushed on us in the forms of posters, adverts, and signs.

Shopping is also a way of life: You need food and clothing f...

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Addiction vs compulsion

Addiction describes trying something, becoming emotionally and physically dependent on it, and then becoming psychologically and physically addicted to it. People who struggle ...

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Compulsive shopping

  • A preoccupation with shopping for unneeded items, taking you away from daily responsibilities such as work duties and home life.
  • Spending much of your time shopping or do...

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A neurological explanation

Up to 6% of the population suffers from shopping compulsion or addiction.

When you consider a new purchase, you're anticipating a reward.
Once the purchase is made, the reward pat...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Rewards and dopamine

Rewards and dopamine

Our brains compute 3 things about reward: how much will we get, how soon will we get it, and how certain are we that we will in fact get it. 

And it’s when the probability of a re...

Why video games are so addictive

Games are enticing because you might win but you might not. And video games do it so efficiently, because they ride the tide of computer technology. The balance between winning and losing is continuously adjusted, according to how well you’re doing, as measured in hits and misses, gains and losses, moment by moment. The sweet spot knows you, it finds you. It adjusts to you.

The reward system

The reward system in our brain exists to ensure we seek out what we need. If eating nutritious food or being smiled at pleases us, we try to secure more of these stimuli. However, seeking pleasure ...

Desire and pleasure

In 1986, a discovery was made that dopamine did not produce pleasure, but in fact, desire. While dopamine makes us want, pleasure comes from opioids and endocannabinoids ( a kind of marijuana produced in the brain), which paints pleasure on good experiences.

Potential clinical application

We cannot explain away our minds by brain mechanisms. Brain mechanisms are part of our minds.

Understanding that desire and dread, for instance, share the same brain operations, could help ease schizophrenia symptoms by restricting a particular dopamine neuron that produces fear.

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A new disorder

The World Health Organization officially added a new disorder to the section on substance use and addictive behaviors :

The term "addiction"

Addiction can include:

  • Addiction as a moral transgression, like excessive drinking or drug use.
  • Addiction as a scientific disease, which characterize alcoholism and drug addiction as biological.
  • Colloquial violation, which applies the term to almost any fixation. 

The idea that someone can be addicted to a behavior, as opposed to a substance, remains debatable.

Arguments against gaming addiction

  • Excessive gameplay is a symptom of a larger problem, like anxiety or depression.
  • The fear of possible addiction arrises from moral panic about new technologies, not scientific research or clinical data.
  • Making excessive gaming a disorder can harm the gaming industry by stigmatizing their products. 

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