Obsessive Shopping: A Disease?

Following a new study published in this months American Journal of Psychiatry, The American Psychiatric Association is considering whether to add obsessive shopping to the DSM as a classifiable medical disorder. According to the study, more than 10 million Americans may be afflicted, including people like Lucille Schneck:

    CT: “Lucille Schenk bought $20,000 worth of jewelry a year ago, plunging herself into debt and despair. She knew something was wrong but couldn’t help herself.

    When Schenk finally sought help, psychologist April Lane Benson advised her to have a “conversation” with the jewelry before she made a purchase, as a way to put distance between herself and her compulsion.

    “I would say, `You are so beautiful, I can’t live without you; I love the way you sparkle,”‘ recalled Schenk, 62, who lives in Ohio. “The jewelry would say back, `You need me. You look pretty when you wear me.’ I would say, `I do need you. I can’t possibly think of being without you. But something has to change. I need to stop this. I can’t afford a penny more.”‘

Lucille is now seeking treatment for schizophrenia.