Addiction to shopping also affects men

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Study: shopping addiction also found in men.

(24.06.2010) Not only women, but also men can succumb to the addiction to buy, at least that is what a study by Peter Kenning's study group from the "Zeppelin University" in Friedrichshafen says. According to the researchers, the addictive behavior of men is similar to that of alcohol and nicotine addiction.

In order to measure how brain activity works, male test subjects who showed symptoms of addiction to shopping were subjected to magnetic resonance imaging. It turned out that the same mechanisms apply to men that were also observed in women with a shopping addiction. The scientists found that potentially addicted men had significantly more activity in the brain areas of the reward system. The men reacted emotionally to certain brands and the reward expectation was activated.

"With our study, we were able to demonstrate for the first time that addiction to shopping is not a purely female problem. Men are more affected than generally suspected," said study leader Kenning. So far, it has always been assumed that a shopping addiction is a problem specific to women.

What is buying addiction

Shopaholics have a variety of symptoms. In the case of a shopping addiction, there is an inner compulsion to constantly and repeatedly buy preferably branded goods. There is a loss of control, compulsion to repeat, dose increase and even withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, excessive sweating, inner restlessness and persistent depression. Many addicts also feel guilty because they have no control over the purchase. The consequences are serious: many addicts get into debt, social contacts and partnerships break down. The transitions from "buying frenzy" to "buying pressure" can be fluid.

The addiction to shopping usually has a different background. Conflicting relationships, a negative self-image and frustration at the workplace can lead to addiction to shopping. Those affected are looking for emotional compensation and reward in constant buying. Support groups and psychotherapy can help most of those affected. (sb)

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