U.S. National Institute of Health(NIH) definition for CBD(Compulsive Buying Disorder):
“Compulsive buying disorder (CBD) is characterized by excessive shopping cognitions and buying behavior that leads to distress or impairment. Found worldwide, the disorder has a lifetime prevalence of 5.8% in the US general population. Most subjects studied clinically are women (~80%), though this gender difference may be artifactual. Subjects with CBD report a preoccupation with shopping, prepurchase tension or anxiety, and a sense of relief following the purchase. CBD is associated with significant psychiatric comorbidity, particularly mood and anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, eating disorders, and other disorders of impulse control. The majority of persons with CBD appear to meet criteria for an Axis II disorder, although there is no special “shopping” personality. Compulsive shopping tends to run in families, and these families are filled with mood and substance use disorders. There are no standard treatments. Psychopharmacologic treatment studies are being actively pursued, and group cognitive-behavioral models have been developed and are promising. Debtors Anonymous, simplicity circles, bibliotherapy, financial counseling, and marital therapy may also play a role in the management of CBD.” Cited from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1805733/
First off I think the 5.8% would be adjusted to upwards of 10% of the population, and quite frankly I would wager good money that a comprehensive study would find that at least a third of Americans experience this disorder, some more frequently than others. The Wiki definition involved the verbiage “negative consequences” which I feel hits closer to the true issue with CBD. Negative consequences could be a number of things, some impacts direct and apparent and also residual and indirect at the same time.
‘Keeping up the with Jones’ is an old saying, yet it has ingrained itself increasingly deeper into American culture. I’ve seen the effects in my own childhood where I launched campaigns in order to convince my folks to spend outside our family’s rational means so I could play basketball in the latest and most high tech shoes and dress in the same apparel as my favorite sports stars. I knew it would strain us, yet I felt so compelled to have them, an enormous pressure to have all the shiny things. This was in the context of a family that had two kids in private school from 1st to 12th grade, a mortgage, the standard debt load of two cars and a handful of credit lines and had middle class jobs which likely grossed to between $60-70K, Needless to say that situation did not leave a lot of excess disposable income. There were a couple medical related crises, one related to an auto accident and despite having insurance, it was no GEICO and claims can drag on for years, so there was no doubt we were on thin ice for a while. I was a teenager when my dad who was a mail carrier nearly lost the use of his legs in a high speed rear end collision when someone on a cell phone plowed into our minivan at over 50mph. Life has its challenges and we prevailed despite the speed bumps. One of the best surgeons in Seattle saved his mobility after two doctors told him there was no way.
After a couple years of college and working primarily in retail and customer service related workplaces I decided to give my shot at the financial services industry. After a remotely successful, yet tumultuously eventful 9 years in banking involving the 2008 recession, and two “mergers”(JP Morgan’s acquisition of Washington Mutual, and Sound Credit Union’s of Watermark CU) I decided the “big” money dreams of banking that facilitated an existentialist lifestyle of sporting, concerts and movies, and going out with friends on the regular was sufficient to keep me stable, not quite living paycheck to paycheck but more like every other paycheck. Wealth building was a concept that I came to understand was more applicable to the wealthy, so I made the conscious decision to throw all my chips on the table in the present and not hedge future bets. This figure of speech doesn’t mean I gambled or had any significant addictions, if anything what I had was a fun and social addiction that my means could barely sustain.
Eventually, and what I knew would happen inevitably the roller coaster ride in the financial industry came to a severe and abrupt halt when I accepted a job solely based on location and making a couple more dollars an hour (who wouldn’t elect to reduce their commute by 30 miles each way though?), The vibes and interactions I had during the interview process had made me wary of the Lending VP that hired me. It was clear by her mannerisms and vocal intonations she was brimming with stress. I discovered why as soon as I sat down at the dirty and cluttered cubicle where I would churn mortgage loans from my front end to the underwriter on the back end of the process. The processes were a mess, the training was scattered and provided no learning aids, and my support was the same person who trained me who rushed me through because she herself was miserably swamped with work. Everyone in the Mortgage staff was visibly unhappy and stressed most the time and the atmosphere on our side of the floor was frantic and at times manic. I stuck with it for eight months trying to get my head above water while the chaos raged around me. My mortgage “teammates” came and went, I made efforts to try and change things but they fell on deaf ears. Constructive feedback and improvement suggestions actually seemed to only turn up the Bunson burner (of pressure) hidden in my cheap squeaky office chair. So the micro-manager hired a supervisor so she could free up a large part of her day by delegating the rigorous micro-managing practices in order to keep her credit union staff “on the ball” delivering our profit goals. I knew it wouldn’t be long for me at that point and sure enough not even a month after the supervisor was hired I was fired. I won’t go into details about the circumstances, but part of the reason the company cited was “insubordination”. I couldn’t agree more. That was a fail-boat and that term has some military nuances to it (a la Navy), if you get my drift…
It took a little while to get my bearings out in the sea of joblessness, but I figured something out eventually. It wasn’t a new lesson, just one I finally had to act on. Don’t work just as a means to live and have fun, instead apply yourself wholly to your aspirations and work just like I live, with passion and energy channeling into what I do as a profession. As I educate myself to enter the Health and Human/Social Services field with aims to shape a better future, I can finally be honest with myself that it’s not all about the zeros in your bank account and all the things around you. For me it’s what you gave back to others by being devoted to the community.
My generation, the 80’s babies were the first victims of the deregulation of Youth Marketing which happened gradually and became completely deregulated in 1984. What followed was an onslaught to the most valuable and precious resource any country on earth possesses, the developing minds of children. The consumer “growth” statistics related to youth spending tell the whole story. That’s where it began. Now all those trained from day one super consumer kids are having children of their own. One can only hope that my fellow 80’s babies and subsequent decades realize we’re being duped and begin reigning in the wild marketing dragon. We deserve a better future for our nation so lets wake the f**k up in order to reverse these trends and promote the change in D.C.