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Shopping binges linked to bipolar disorder?

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It's easy to buy, buy, buy. But some people bankrupt themselves trying to look rich. It is a problem perhaps best captured in the film "Confessions of a Shopaholic."

The main character finally overcomes her bouts with debt, but in real life her affliction may have been much more serious.

Binge spending or extreme gambling could be a sign of bipolar disorder, an illness nearly 6 million Americans suffer from.

Dr. Igor Galynker, the director of the Family Center for Bipolar Disorder Beth Israel Medical Center, said it is caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. He said one of the hallmarks is the feeling of invincibility; feeling that rules typically apply to other people don't apply for you. He said bipolar spenders go out of control. When they come crashing down, it's usually not a Hollywood ending. That is why experts say if you think someone may be suffering he or she should consult a doctor.

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