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Shopaholics Can be Treated with Alzheimer's Pill

Update Date: May 30, 2012 11:07 AM EDT

Shopaholics can now breathe a sigh of relief, as scientists say they can treat shopaholics with the pills used for Alzheimer's disease.

Shopaholic people, who have a "compulsive buying disorder(CBD)," spent less time shopping and wasted less money on impulse buys when given memantine pills, normally used to help treat Alzheimer's symptoms, reveals a new study.

The researchers claim that memantine works for shopaholoics who accumulate huge debts due to CBD, which is also a form of "obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)." Being shopaholic, although taken lightly at times, can lead to serious mental health issues like depression and obsessive hoarding.

According to the report, women constitute to more than 80 percent of shopaholics and often find difficult to resist buying things that they cannot even afford. A treatment for the disorder was something that was long sought for.

These results were concluded from a clinical trial conducted at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. The trial consisted of nine participants aged 19 to 59 diagnosed with CBD, who were spending 61% of their income on impulsive purchases of clothes. The participants spent at least 38 hours a week in shops, the report said.

The participants were prescribed memantine medication by the researchers, which is generally prescribed to prevent deterioration in people with moderate to severe Alzheimer's.

Eight weeks after taking the medicine, there was a significant reduction seen in the amount of time and money spent by the participants on shopping. The symptoms were reduced by 50%, says the report.

Apparently, with the help of the drugs, not only did the impulsive buying behavior was reduced, participants also displayed improved brain functions associated with impulse urges.

How memantine works for CBD is that it reacts with glutamate, a brain chemical, which is deemed responsible for development of dementia and OCD behavior, say researchers.

"These findings suggest that pharmacologic manipulation of the glutamate system may target the impulsive behavior underlying compulsive buying. Placebo-controlled, double-blind studies are warranted in order to confirm these preliminary findings in a controlled design," researchers wrote.

The study is published in the Annals of Clinical Psychiatry.

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