The drug memantine, which treats Alzheimer’s disease, may also restrain shopaholics from compulsive purchases.
The drug helps Alzheimer’s patients by decreasing over activity in their brain and causes them to have clearer thinking. The drug is also shown to ease impulsivity which is linked to rash decision-making and also compulsive shopping.
Study author Dr. Jon Grant, at the University of Minnesota, notes that compulsive spending is like other addictions in the sense that the individual is only thinking about the immediate reward and not considering it’s consequence.
Grant recruited eight women who were all compulsive buyers and had them take the drug for 10 weeks. Researchers used cognitive surveys and tests to monitor any impulsive spending and thoughts. They found major impulse reductions by the end of the study.
Grant says the study was published in May and offers hope to Americans who battle compulsive shopping. There is an estimated 6% of Americans who struggle with extreme highs and extreme lows that come with compulsive spending.
Grant noted the many benefits this medication can bring to compulsive shoppers who have spent without thinking and caused problems in their jobs and marriages because of the consequences. People often squander away their savings and then lie about their habit which causes enormous personal suffering.
One mother said she charged over $50,000 in debt and lied to her husband by hiding her purchases. Grant added that many get stuck in their cycle of addiction and do things that are out of character to them and sometimes even become shoplifters.
The fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) doesn’t list compulsive shopping as a disorder like alcoholism or gambling despite it being commonly recognized as one, and there is no treatment at this time. There is hope if the drug is approved it may also be used for other impulsive disorders such as alcoholism and OCD.