Gambling Addiction

Gambling involves betting on the outcome of a random event with an expectation of winning something of value. It can be done in many ways, including slot machines, sports betting, lotteries, or casino games. While differences between these gambling activities should not be underestimated, clinical and neurobiological literature groups problem gamblers together based on consistent phenomenology, and many people engage in multiple forms of gambling.

For some people, gambling is harmless fun; for others it can become an unhealthy obsession. When this happens, it can strain family relationships and interfere with work performance. It can also lead to serious debt and even homelessness. Gambling can also affect a person’s mental health, causing feelings of helplessness or depression.

The good news is that gambling addiction can be treated. The most effective treatment is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). It helps a person to understand why they are gambling and what causes them to feel like this. CBT also teaches a variety of coping skills that can be used to overcome the urge to gamble.

A number of other treatments for gambling addiction include medications, such as antidepressants and mood stabilisers. These can be taken orally, and may be prescribed by a doctor. For some people, the best option is to seek out a specialist gambling clinic. These are often privately run, and offer a more intensive treatment approach than regular counselling.

In recent years, understanding of gambling and gambling problems has undergone a profound change. This has been reflected in, or stimulated by, the evolution of clinical classification and description in various editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

There are many warning signs that suggest that a person is suffering from compulsive gambling. These include: – The gambler has lost significant amounts of money, or is on the verge of losing them; – They experience negative consequences in their lives as a result of their gambling activities, such as: – Relationship issues; -Difficulties at work; -Financial difficulties; -Loss of personal property; -Chasing losses (returning to try and recoup their losses); -Lying to family members or therapists to conceal their involvement with gambling; -Using illegal means, such as forgery, fraud, theft, embezzlement, or robbery, to finance their gambling; or -Jeopardizing or risking their current employment, education, career or business opportunity;

If you have a loved one who suffers from gambling addiction, it is important not to judge them. Instead, reach out for support from a friend or family member, and consider talking to a professional to discuss local referral resources. It is also helpful to set boundaries in managing family finances, and review bank and credit card statements regularly. It can also be helpful to remember that people don’t just ‘get addicted’ – they can develop gambling problems for many reasons, such as coping with stress and anxiety. They might also gamble for a sense of achievement, to forget their worries, or to escape from their daily life.

Posted in: Gambling