Gambling Addiction – Signs and Symptoms of Compulsive Gambling

Gambling is not a normal behavior. Occasionally, a person may enjoy a game for amusement, but when it becomes an addiction, it may be a sign of a larger problem. This article discusses the signs and symptoms of compulsive gambling and offers treatment options. If you’re one of the millions of Americans who experience gambling addiction, this article is for you. It’ll give you the information you need to help yourself stop your gambling habit for good.

Problem gambling

Gambling addiction has many effects on the individual. It can disrupt a person’s life, and can involve legal, emotional, and family issues. Problem gambling can range in severity, from occasional to severe, and can be a chronic, debilitating condition. Before it was identified as an actual mental disorder, problem gambling was referred to as compulsive gambling, pathological gambling, or impulse control disorder. It is now recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as a distinct condition.

Among the most widely accepted methods for treating problem gambling include behavior-assisted therapy, activity scheduling, and desensitization. A growing body of behavioral-analytic research supports these treatments. Drugs, such as SSRIparoxetine, are also effective for treating pathological gambling. The opioid antagonist drug nalmefene has been trialled successfully for compulsive gambling. Several self-help techniques, such as metacognitive training, have been shown to be effective in treating compulsive behavior.

Types of gambling

The types of gambling differ in their structure and experiences but have a common core. Lotteries, for example, are attractive because of the possibility of winning a large prize for a small stake. Bingo has a social element. Sports betting often involves a perceived element of skill. Electronic gaming machines (EGMs) allow gamblers to play for long periods. These machines can also induce a dissociative state. Nonetheless, there are risks associated with gambling.

The most common forms of gambling are card games, sports betting, horse betting, bingo, and office pools. Among the least common forms are internet gambling, video keno, online casino games, and pulltabs. Despite the diversity of these types of gambling, there is a clear distinction between casino games and card games. Males tend to be more likely to gamble through office pools, while females prefer poker or other card games.

Signs and symptoms of compulsive gambling

The most common age when compulsive gambling begins in men is early adolescence, while it occurs more frequently in women between the ages of 20 and 40. A person who has compulsive gambling often has a difficult time resisting the urge to gamble, because their brain reacts to the activity in the same way it does with any other addiction. Although compulsive gambling is similar to obsessive compulsive disorder, it is distinct from that condition. The symptoms may start in an occasional gambling event, but eventually develop into a habit and make the person’s life miserable. In such situations, compulsive gambling becomes an even bigger problem.

Gamblers may also engage in crime to support their excessive gambling. Many pathological gamblers steal from family members and friends, while others engage in criminal activity. Family members may also be pushed away, and the person may even reject help offered to them. Symptoms of compulsive gambling may be difficult to spot without a thorough physical and psychological evaluation. But even if the gambling disorder does not show up immediately, the individual may be suffering from a more serious mental health problem.

Treatment options

For those who are unable to stop gambling, treatment for gambling addiction can include residential addiction treatment. A residential program allows for time and professional support to help an individual deal with the consequences of their gambling, as well as the underlying triggers that lead to addictive behavior. During this time, a person will also learn coping skills to avoid the negative impacts of gambling. Treatment for gambling addiction may also include online or day treatment programs. Whether an individual needs residential or outpatient care depends on their particular situation.

While many people who suffer from gambling problems resist seeking therapy, this option is worth considering. Treatment for gambling addiction can help a person regain control over their lives, as well as repair their finances and relationships. Behavioral therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, can help an individual overcome the negative patterns that lead to impulsive gambling. Family therapy may also be useful in treating gambling addiction. These options may be more effective for individuals who have multiple problems, or those who are suffering from gambling disorders.