Compulsive Gambling – What it is, Symptoms and Treatments of this condition. In addition, Compulsive Gambling (or Ludomania, but generally referred to as “gambling addiction” or “problem gambling”) is a desire to continually gamble despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop. Problem gambling is often defined by damage sustained by the player or others rather than the player’s behavior. Serious problems can be diagnosed as clinical pathological gambling if the player meets certain criteria. Pathological gambling is a common disorder that is associated with social and family costs. So, check out now Compulsive Gambling – What is it, Symptoms and Treatments:
What is Compulsive Gambling: Compulsive Gambling , also called gambling disorder, is the uncontrollable urge to keep gambling despite the amount it takes in your life. Gambling means that you are willing to risk something you value in hopes of getting something of even greater value. Gambling can stimulate the brain ‘s reward system , like drugs or alcohol, leading to addiction.
If you have a problem with compulsive gambling, you may pursue continuous gambling that leads to losses, hide your behavior, run out of savings, accumulate debt, or even resort to theft or fraud to support your addiction. Compulsive Gambling is a serious condition that can destroy lives. While treating Compulsive Gambling can be challenging, many people struggling with Compulsive Gambling have found help through professional treatment.
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Causes of Compulsive Gambling: Exactly what causes someone to gamble is not well understood. Like many problems, Compulsive Gambling can result from a combination of biological, genetic and environmental factors.
Symptoms of Compulsive Gambling: Signs and symptoms of Compulsive Gambling (gaming disorder) include:
- Being concerned about the game, how to constantly plan how to get more game money
- Needing to play with increasing amounts of money to get the same thrill
- Attempting to control, slow down or stop the game, to no avail
- Feeling restless or irritable when trying to cut down on gambling
- Gambling to escape problems or alleviate feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety , or depression
- Trying to recoup lost money playing more (chasing losses)
- According to family members or others to hide the extent of your game
- Pampering or losing important relationships, a job, or school or work opportunities because of gambling.
- Resorting to theft or fraud to get game money
- Asking others to rescue you from financial troubles because you threw money away.
Unlike most casual gamblers who stop when they lose or set a losing limit, people with a Compulsive Gambling problem are forced to keep playing to get their money back – a pattern that becomes increasingly destructive over time. Some people with a Compulsive Gambling problem may go into remission where they play less or not play for a period of time. However, without treatment, remission is usually not permanent.
When to See a Doctor or Mental Health Professional: Have family members, friends, or co-workers expressed concern about your gambling? If so, listen to their concerns. Because denial is almost always a feature of compulsive or addictive behavior, it can be difficult for you to realize that you have a problem.
Risk Factors for Compulsive Gambling: While most people who gamble or gamble never develop a Compulsive Gambling problem , certain factors are more often associated with Compulsive Gambling :
- Mental health disorders. People who gamble compulsively often have substance abuse problems, personality disorders, depression or anxiety . Compulsive Gambling can also be associated with bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- Advanced age. Compulsive Gambling is more common in younger and middle-aged people. Gambling during childhood or adolescence increases the risk of developing Compulsive Gambling . However, Compulsive Gambling in the older adult population can also be a problem.
- be a man. Compulsive gambling is more common in men than in women. Women who gamble typically start later in life and can become addicted more quickly. But the patterns of play between men and women have become increasingly similar.
- Influence of family or friend. If your family members or friends have a gambling problem, chances are higher than you will too.
- Medicines used to treat Parkinson’s disease and restless legs syndrome. Drugs called dopamine agonists have a rare side effect that can result in compulsive behaviors, including gambling, in some people.
- Certain personality traits. Being highly competitive, a workaholic, impulsive, restless or easily bored can increase your risk of Compulsive Gambling .
Compulsive Gambling Complications: Compulsive Gambling canhave profound and lasting consequences for your life, such as:
- Relationship problems
- Financial problems, including bankruptcy
- Legal problems or imprisonment
- Poor job performance or job loss
- poor general health
- Suicide, suicide attempts, or suicidal thoughts
Compulsive Gambling Diagnosis: If you recognize that you may have a problem with your gambling, speak with your primary care physician about an evaluation or seek help from a mental health professional. To assess your gambling problem, your doctor or mental health professional will likely:
- Ask questions related to your gaming habits. He or she may also ask permission to speak with family or friends. However, confidentiality laws prevent your doctor from providing any information about you without your consent.
- Review your medical information. Some drugs can have a rare side effect that results in compulsive behaviors, including gambling, in some people. A physical exam can identify problems with your health that are sometimes associated with Compulsive Gambling .
- Get a psychiatric evaluation. This assessment includes questions about your symptoms, thoughts, feelings and behavior patterns related to your game. Depending on your signs and symptoms, you may be evaluated for mental health disorders that are sometimes related to excessive gambling.
- Use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The DSM-5, published by the American Psychiatric Association, lists criteria for diagnosing gambling disorder.
Compulsive Gambling Treatments: Treating Compulsive Gambling can be challenging. That’s partly why most people have a hard time admitting they have a problem. However, an important component of treatment is working on recognizing that you are a compulsive gambler.
If your family or your employer pressured you into therapy, you may find yourself resisting treatment. But treating a gambling problem can help you regain a sense of control — and perhaps help heal damaged relationships or finances. Treatment for Compulsive Gambling may include these approaches:
- Therapy. Behavioral therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy may be beneficial. Behavioral therapy uses systematic exposure to the behavior you want to unlearn and teaches your skills to reduce your urge to gamble. Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on identifying unhealthy, irrational, and negative beliefs and replacing them with healthy, positive ones. Family therapy can also be helpful.
- Medicines. Antidepressants and mood stabilizers can help with problems that often accompany Compulsive Gambling — such as depression, OCD or ADHD. Some antidepressants can be effective in reducing gambling behavior. Medications called narcotic antagonists, useful in treating substance abuse, can help treat Compulsive Gambling .
- Self-help groups. Some people find that talking to others who have a gambling problem can be a helpful part of treatment. Ask your healthcare professional for advice on self-help groups such as Gamblers Anonymous and other resources.
Treatment for compulsive gambling may involve an outpatient program, an inpatient program, or a residential treatment program, depending on your needs and resources. Treatment for substance abuse, depression, anxiety or any other mental health disorder can be part of your treatment plan for compulsive gambling.
Relapse Prevention: Even with treatment, you can get back into the game, especially if you spend time with people who play games or are in gaming environments. If you think you’re going to start gambling again, contact your mental health professional or sponsor right away to avoid a relapse.
Preventing Compulsive Gambling: While there is no proven way to prevent compulsive gambling , educational programs that target individuals and groups at increased risk can be helpful. If you have risk factors for compulsive gambling, consider avoiding gambling in any form, people who gamble and places where gambling takes place.
Get treated at the first sign of a problem to help prevent the game from getting worse. These recovery skills can help you focus on resisting Compulsive Gambling urges :
- Stay focused on your #1 goal: not gambling.
- Tell yourself it’s too risky to play. One bet usually leads to another and another.
- Give permission to ask for help, as willpower is not enough to overcome Compulsive Gambling . Ask a family member or friend to encourage you to follow your treatment plan.
- Recognize and then avoid situations that trigger your urge to gamble.
Family members of people with a Compulsive Gambling problem may benefit from counseling, even if the gambler is unwilling to participate in therapy.