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From walking into a bright and beautiful store to browsing through awesome finds online and adding them to our carts, it is easy to see why people can be so in love with shopping. However, this obsession can be taken too far, as 5% of Americans show signs of compulsive buying (via Cleveland Clinic). “A compulsive behavior is typically characterized by an inability to resist an impulse to act upon a particular urge or indulge in a behavior,” Dr. Samir Parikh of the Fortis School Mental Health Programme told Healthshots.

These impulses may be the result of mood disorders, a lack of self-confidence or self-control, pressure, or even boredom, altace o and they can be the start of a vicious cycle: A person may be feeling down, so they engage in a compulsive shopping spree. After that, they feel guilty for what they have done, leading to more depression. This, in turn, could start up yet another round of impulse buying.

When someone with this issue tries to fix things with shopping, they are only being distracted for a bit. The problem is still there. According to Healthshots, a real solution may include talking to a trusted professional or a loved one.

A shopping addiction can be taken too far, but there can be psychological benefits to shopping, too

On the other hand, “research suggests there’s actually a lot of psychological and therapeutic value when you’re shopping” and that “you do get a psychological and emotional boost,” clinical psychologist Scott Bea told Cleveland Clinic.

For one, it can give someone a sense of control. It can decrease depression, stress, and anxiety — or at least give a good distraction from them. It releases dopamine – the hormone neurotransmitter that makes us feel good — and this can happen when just scrolling or browsing, as a purchase doesn’t even have to be made, in order to get those fuzzy, warm feels! Plus, if someone saves up in order to purchase something special, they get more psychological perks from knowing they worked hard and earned this treat.

So retail therapy got its name for a reason, and it can be a positive thing for your mental health. However, just remember to be careful, so as to not let your love for this pastime get out of control.

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