Compulsive shoppers could soon be able to pop a pill to curb their craving to spend, spend, spend.
The drug Nalmefene is already thought to defeat compulsive disorders such as gambling, kleptomania and even sex addiction.

It works to kill the drug-like rush created by chemicals in the brain, which those in the grip of a compulsive disorder are chasing.

Trials of the drug in the United States have proved successful on pathological gamblers - six out of ten said it curbed the craving to visit the roulette wheel or slot machines.

Now manufacturers believe it could have the same benefit for shopaholics, whose spending blitzes threaten meltdown for their finances and relationships.

Psychiatry professor Dr Jon Grant, of the University of Minnesota, said: "Shopping is very similar to gambling addiction. It has the same kind of urging and cravings to engage in the behaviour even though you know it is screwing you up."

He said his study into Nalmefene was a 'giant leap' for gamblers, and had implications for other addictive behaviours. Dr Grant was commissioned to carry out research by the Finnish firm drug firm, BioTie Therapies, which developed Nalmefene to treat alcoholism. He is about to begin testing it on 2,000 shopping addicts.

Martin Zack, of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, described the positive effects on pathological gamblers as 'a very important result'.

He said the study confirmed the belief that addictive behaviour is a medical condition just like any other, such as heart disease.

Around 90 per cent of binge buyers are women. Research shows many are likely to have anxiety disorders and low self-esteem.

Last year, the Daily Mail told the story of Jody Huxley, who finally hit rock bottom after a 14,000 spending binge. The young mother's obsession left her 40,000 in debt and effectively ended her marriage.

In a poll last month, 86 per cent of British women admitted to buying clothes that they would never wear, at a total cost of 7.3billion a year.

The researchers investigating the benefits of the new pill insist it is no 'magic bullet'. They say it will work best alongside other help, such as counselling.
Shopping addiction? Try compulsive spending by a spoiled society that thinks it deserves to have everything it wants right now.