Online shopping is the process of buying goods and services from merchants over the Internet. Since the emergence of the World Wide Web, merchants have sought to sell their products to people who spend time online. Shoppers can visit web stores from the comfort of their homes and shop as they sit in front of the computer.
Consumers can buy a huge variety of items from online stores, and just about anything can be purchased from companies that provide their products online. Books, clothing, household appliances, toys, hardware, software, and health insurance are just some of the hundreds of products consumers can buy from an online store.
‘Clearance SALE’, ‘flat 50% off’, ‘buy one get one free’, ‘buy all at reduced prices’, these claims excite us shopaholics more than Leonardo DiCaprio, right? Or at least at par with him. But I have a piece of bad news for all of us shopping addicts.
A group of psychiatrists claims that ‘addiction to shopping fuelled by online retailing should be classed as a mental health condition,’ reports The Times, UK. The study ‘Online shopping in treatment-seeking patients with buying-shopping disorder’ published in ‘Comprehensive Psychiatry’ journal suggests online shopping addition should be officially recognized as a mental health disorder.
Researchers said that about 5% of adults in developed countries had some form of the buying-shopping disorder (BSD), reports The Telegraph. According to the journal, “BSD is characterized by extreme preoccupations with and craving for buying/shopping and by irresistible and identity-seeking urges to possess consumer goods. Patients with BSD buy more consumer goods than they can afford, and those are neither needed nor frequently used. The excessive purchasing is primarily used to regulate emotions, e.g. to get pleasure, relief from negative feelings, or coping with self-discrepancy.”
Psychotherapist reveals that some people diagnosed with the buying-shopping disorder (BSD) take treatments for their condition, but with several brands and shopping arenas being available for customers with just a click, online BSD has become more prevalent. German psychotherapist Dr. Astrid Müller discovered ‘higher-than-usual’ rates of depression and anxiety among those obsessed with online shopping.
For the study, researchers examined 122 patients obsessed with compulsive shopping and the sad news is, 33.6% of them showed signs of probable online BSD. This can increase the risk of ‘anxiety, depression, family issues, financial problems, and clutter,’ quoted the study.
However, many people choose to shop online because of the convenience. For example, when a person shops at a brick-and-mortar store, she has to drive to the store, find a parking place, and walk throughout the store until she locates the products she needs. After finding the items she wants to purchase, she may often need to stand in long lines at the cash register.