Warning Signs and Treatment for Gambling Addiction

Gambling is defined as a game of skill or chance in which an individual places a valuable item at risk in order to win a greater value. Many people engage in gambling in various forms, and there are some special populations that are at a greater risk than the general population. Veterans, Latino and Asian communities are particularly vulnerable to gambling addiction. Here are some warning signs and treatment options. Fortunately, there are many treatment options, including gambling therapy.

Problem gambling

Problem gambling is an addiction that can cause financial ruin, legal trouble, and emotional difficulties for its sufferer. It can also be fatal. Problem gambling is a common behavioral pattern that may begin as a relatively harmless hobby but becomes a dangerous problem over time. Previously, it was referred to as pathological gambling or compulsive gambling. However, the American Psychiatric Association has classified it as an impulse control disorder. To identify if you may have problem gambling, consult your doctor or psychologist.

The DSM-IV diagnostic criteria, developed by the American Psychiatric Association, have evolved over the past 27 years. The criteria used for defining problem gambling are now based on a more evaluative process. This research included surveys of 222 compulsive gamblers and 104 substance-abusing social gamblers. Researchers then used cluster analysis to determine nine symptom criteria that were associated with problem gambling.

Signs of a problem

If you suspect that a loved one is suffering from a gambling problem, there are several signs to look for. Some of these include a frequent need to gamble to deal with stressful situations, lying to others, staying up late, and even stealing money. In addition to lying to others, people with a gambling problem may manipulate and accuse others. They may even be dependent on other people to support their habit.

If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from a gambling addiction, consider that compulsive gambling often results in emotional changes. Gamblers may experience excessive mood swings, a “double life” in which they hide their gambling habits from their friends and family. Often, these mood swings are mistaken for normal upset. However, they may be signs that you have a gambling addiction. In some cases, a gambling problem may lead to a loss of control of one’s personality and sense of self-worth.

Treatment options

While a person with a gambling problem may be resistant to therapy, it is crucial for them to seek professional help and discuss their problem with their primary care doctor. A mental health professional can help a person overcome their problem and help them regain control over their finances and relationships. Some forms of therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and family therapy, focus on replacing negative beliefs with healthy ones. For those whose gambling problem has affected their relationships, these therapies can help them rebuild those relationships.

Compulsive gambling is an addictive behavior that is highly likely to develop at any age. However, it tends to strike younger individuals than older individuals. Women are more likely to develop a gambling problem than men. Gambling addiction tends to be more severe in women than in men, and it is also more common in those with mental health disorders. Many sufferers of compulsive gambling also experience depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.

Prevention of compulsive gambling

Many people wonder how to prevent compulsive gambling. While it is difficult to completely stop the urge, prevention can help limit the damage it can do. There are several factors that may increase the risk of compulsive gambling. Men are more likely to develop the problem than women. Women may also begin gambling later in life than men and become addicted more easily. Family and friend influences may contribute to a person’s propensity to gamble. It’s also possible to develop compulsive gambling if you take certain medications for restless legs syndrome or Parkinson’s disease.

The Illinois Gaming Board will hold its first-ever hearing on problem gambling next week. The board will request $2 million for research and treatment for problem gamblers. The Illinois Department of Human Services will continue working to implement the recommendations from the hearing. In the meantime, the state’s gaming board will work with the Department of Human Services to implement these changes. Until such time, Illinois casinos should be working to provide safe environments for their patrons to gamble responsibly.