Problem gambling is an impulse-control disorder. While gambling is a fun activity, it can quickly turn dangerous if the behavior is not done with the right intention. Many people who experience problem gambling describe it as a hidden addiction because there are rarely any obvious physical or outward symptoms. Here are some ways to spot the signs of problem gambling. It may sound harmless, but the damage it can cause is devastating to a person’s life. Read on to learn more about the signs of problem gambling and how to get treatment.
Problem gambling is an impulse-control disorder
Gambling problem is a common social affliction with many ramifications. It can be financially devastating, affect family relationships, and be emotionally draining. This impulse control disorder can be mild or severe, and it may worsen over time. Before its official diagnosis, problem gambling was known as pathological gambling, compulsive gambling, or impulse-control disorder. The American Psychiatric Association has formally recognized problem gambling as an impulse-control disorder.
The term “problem gambling” was coined thirty years ago to describe the phenomenon. At the time, many people believed that problem gambling was thirty years behind substance-dependence and alcoholism. It was common to hear people say that they wished for a spokesperson, a celebrity who would talk about their addiction and appear on the cover of magazines. Today, research has made it clear that gambling is an impulse-control disorder.
It can be treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy
One example of how gambling can be treated with cognitive-behavior therapy is when a patient identifies triggers and avoids them. During the first session, Ms. A worked to identify the triggers for her gambling. For example, she ceased playing the numbers she generated in the morning and replaced them with therapy homework. She also began tracking her days of gambling and nongambling in a chart, which she shared with her therapist.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on problematic emotions and behaviours. Specifically, treatment for pathological gambling involves identifying and challenging irrational beliefs and learning new skills to reduce and eliminate problematic behaviors. Individual and group sessions may include psychoeducation and problem-solving exercises. Gamblers typically undergo treatment for eight to 15 sessions. CBT is an active process and includes homework, feedback, and direction from the therapist.
It can be linked to drugs or alcohol
Although gambling and substance abuse are not commonly associated, some research has found that they have similar effects on the brain. Both substances release extra dopamine, a neurotransmitter that gives the user a feeling of pleasure. As an addiction to either substance builds up, the user becomes tolerant of the effect and needs more to experience the same feelings. Because of this, compulsive gamblers increase their bets to maintain the “high.”
There is a connection between alcoholism and gambling, and these two disorders are often co-occurring. Alcoholism is the most common substance associated with gambling addiction, and alcoholism is often a comorbidity in people suffering from both. Substance abuse complicates compulsive behaviors such as gambling, and often causes a person’s condition to worsen. Those who are addicted to gambling often frequent gambling establishments that serve alcohol.
It can destroy lives
The effects of gambling on people’s health are obvious. Excessive gambling can lead to a range of physical and emotional problems, including depression and suicidal thoughts. People who engage in compulsive gambling often experience physical and mental health problems as a result of their addiction, including weight gain and loss. The lack of sleep also causes pallor in the skin and dark circles under the eyes. A third of problem gamblers suffer from anxiety or depression.
Problem gambling affects many people’s lives and finances. The condition often remains hidden from family members, causing the person to isolate themselves. While it may seem impossible to overcome, treatment is available to end suffering and restore normality. There are many ways to stop gambling, and find a solution. Treatment for gambling addiction is available and will help you lead a normal life without the stress and anxiety associated with it. If you have a gambling problem, contact your nearest gambling clinic for more information.