People who "shop 'till they drop" and run their credit cards up to the limit often have a shopping addiction. They believe that if they shop they will feel better. Compulsive shopping and spending generally makes a person feel worse. It is similar to other addictive behaviors and has some of the same characteristics as as problem drinking (alcoholism), gambling and overeating addictions.
Compulsive shopping or spending can be a seasonal balm for the depression, anxiety and loneliness during the December holiday season. It also can occur when a person feels depressed, lonely and angry. Shopping and spending will not assure more love, bolster self-esteem, or heal the hurts, regrets, stress, and the problems of daily living. It generally makes these feelings worse because of the increased financial debt the person has obtained from compulsive shopping.
The American Psychiatric society does not currently classify compulsive shopping as a recognized disorder, although there are indications that they will do so in the future.
Nalmefene has also been tested for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder for combat veterans but results were not good enough to continue.