These are tough times for people with compulsive buying disorder – or C-B-D.  That’s the term for the estimated 1-in-17 North Americans who have an obsessive urge to shop. Experts say people with C-B-D often feel “out of control” whenever they pass by a store. They may actually feel their heart race, and their cheeks flush.  And as it turns out, their urge to buy is especially strong during the holidays, with door-buster deals, friends and family discounts, and free shipping!

April Benson is a psychologist who says C-B-D’s often linked with low self-esteem and the holidays can trigger feelings of loneliness, which gets people thinking: “Maybe if I buy the perfect gift or outfit, then more people will like me!”

What type of person becomes a compulsive buyer?

The stereotypical compulsive shopper is traditionally a woman in her 30s.  But experts say, thanks to the internet more men are becoming compulsive shoppers too. That’s because men are twice as likely as women to shop online. Benson says what makes the Internet so dangerous is that people tend to lose touch with reality when they’re online.  You can’t pay cash, so spending doesn’t seem as real – and everything is just a “click” away.

You may be wondering: When does a fun shopping spree cross the line into a compulsive shopping problem? Benson says if you feel remorse after buying something, because your shopping habits are putting you in debt - or disrupting your work, family or social life – then you have a problem. Also, if you find yourself hiding purchases, because you don’t want others to know that you’ve been shopping, then you need help.

If that sounds like you, Benson recommends talking to a therapist.  Or, you can learn more about C-B-D at this Website: ShopaholicNoMore.com.