Nearly 6% of the population suffers from compulsive buying, which is often linked to other problems with control and mood disorders, according to research in the American Journal of Psychiatry. About the same percentage of women and men are shopaholics, and addicts are likely to be young, near the limit on their credit cards, and making less than $50,000 a year.
The problem is associated with other control problems, like compulsive gambling, as well as mood disorders, including major depression—and serious financial problems. Trials attempting to treat compulsive buying with antidepressants have produced mixed results, but some people seem to benefit. Compulsive buying is characterized by an irresistible urge to buy unnecessary, often unaffordable items that lose their appeal almost from the moment of purchase. (Read more mental illness stories.)