Shopping, as fun as it can be, can get a bit addictive and that can lead to hoarding or even debt.

An obsession with excessive buying and shopping can be so serious that it constitutes a disorder.

This is according to a group of more than 100 international psychologists and clinicians who have built the first framework to diagnose what they describe as a ‘debilitating condition’, which is called ‘compulsive buying-shopping disorder’ (CBSD).

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This disorder can present itself in a similar way as some eating disorders because the sufferer uses the act of buying as a way to improve their mood or reward themselves.

According to an article in the Daily Mail, research into this disorder was led by Professor Mike Kyrios from Flinders University’s Órama Institute for Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Through their research, the experts hope that a diagnosis will help people struggling to manage their spending behaviour and improve their mental well-being.

‘Clients who show excessive buying behaviour commonly have difficulties in regulating their emotions, so buying or shopping is then used to feel better,’ Kyrios told the Daily Mail.

Another major contributing factor to CBSD is the growth in consumerism and the constant access to online shopping sites, such as Amazon or Takealot.

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Until now though, there hasn’t been a formal diagnostic criteria for this kind of disorder.

‘In over 20 years, since I started investigating excessive buying, there has been an absence of commonly agreed diagnostic criteria,’ Professor Kyrios told the Daily Mail.

‘[This] has hampered the perceived seriousness of the problem, as well as research efforts and consequently the development of evidence-based treatments,’ he added.

Luckily, with the new framework which essentially represents an agreement between 138 of the world’s leading experts from 35 different countries, the disorder can be taken seriously.

According to the Daily Mail, the framework determines at the at which point shopping becomes CBSD and can be used ‘as the basis for the development of diagnostic interviews and measures of CBSD severity’.

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Professor Kyrios describes the study as a ‘game-changer’ for research in the area of excessive buying, providing a springboard for treatments and better diagnostic processes in future.

To read the full article, head to the Journal of Behavioral Addictions.