Compulsive online shopping affects 16% of consumers

The pandemic has not only had a great effect on health matters but also on the population behaviors. The increase in cases of people with stress conditions has resulted, among other things, in an increase in disorders related to compulsive buying.

Furthermore, the growing use of new technologies has contributed to the proliferation of this type of behavioral addiction. In fact, 16% of the population already compulsively buy online, with women being the most affected by this disorder: between 80% and 95% of compulsive purchases are made by the female gender, beauty products being , aesthetics and well-being the most compulsively acquired. On the other hand, compulsive purchases made by men are usually more related to leisure products, entertainment and technology.

The most vulnerable age to start this type of addiction is usually between 18 and 30 years. For this reason, Dr. Cristina Giner, clinical psychologist at the Brain 360 Institute, warns that “Young people are especially exposed to this type of addiction, especially due to their continuous contact with new technologies. Hence the urgent need to preventively educate the youngest so that they follow healthy shopping habits in the future “.

Despite this vulnerability of the youngest, shopping addiction is a global problem that affects all population segments, regardless of their socioeconomic level. On many occasions, you are addictions they end up originating as a consequence of a misuse of purchases as a coping strategy in the face of certain problems or as a way to evade reality.

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Hence, dual pathology is a very common feature in these situations. Dr. Giner herself reports that, as in most addictions, there are three key factors when we talk about the appearance of a compulsive buying problem: the social one, which has a lot to do with the consumerist and advertising context of society; the psychological, which refers to how each individual faces their problems; and the biological, which has to do with certain biological vulnerabilities (such as the case of dysregulation in the activity of certain brain regions).

Neurostimulation shows positive results as a treatment

It is precisely in this biological dimension that neuromodulation enters, a technique that helps people with shopping addiction problems to have greater cognitive control and make better decisions. “This technique helps to reduce craving, which is the intense and irrepressible desire that leads the individual to abandon abstinence”says Dr. Giner.

Before starting neuromodulation, neuroimaging is used to detect which brain areas show abnormal functioning, an evaluation of the different cognitive domains and a precise study of the threshold at which stimulation can have an effect on the nervous tissue of each. patient. Once these areas are located, the stimuli are launched with the aim of modulating the response of these patients, thus achieving a symptomatic reduction in the end.

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