Although not all compulsive buyers are particularly interested with such distinctions, there's some uncertainty among the mental health profession about whether to see overshopping as a genuine disorder or merely a bad habit, and more uncertainty about whether, if it is a disorder, it aligns more closely with the obsessive-compulsive spectrum or with the impulsive-control continuum. In the journal Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience (2010; 12(2): 175-85), D.W. Black, M. Shaw, and N. Blum make a case for seeing compulsive shopping as a legitimate disorder on the impulse-control continuum.
In their article, "Pathological gambling and compulsive buying: do they fall within an obsessive-compulsive spectrum?" the authors point out that these questions assume greater importance now because final revisions to the DSM are being prepared, revisions that will soon culminate in DSM-5. Compulsive buying has for the first time been proposed for inclusion.