Problem gambling can be a mental disorder, but there are many other harmful effects of this addictive activity. While gambling is a fun social activity, it can easily become an addiction that has many negative effects on a person. A person who develops a gambling addiction will need to gamble more in order to achieve the same “high.” This can cause a vicious cycle because they will continue to seek more gambling opportunities until they can no longer stop. The consequences of gambling addiction range from personal, social, and professional impacts.
Problem gambling is a mental disorder
The most common treatment for problem gambling involves counseling, step-based programs, peer-support groups, and medication. There is no single treatment for pathological gambling that is considered the most effective. However, medication has been shown to reduce symptoms in some patients. There are some treatments that are not effective, however, including therapy. Patients should be warned that these treatments may increase the risk of problem gambling, and self-exclusion may be appropriate in some cases.
It is a social activity
For most people, gambling is a fun activity that they can enjoy with friends and family. However, it is also dangerously addictive for a small minority of people. Compulsive gamblers constantly seek the “high” associated with betting, increasing their bets to achieve that high. They may also chase their losses, as they have no intention of winning. Gambling experts say that it is as powerful as heroin and the fastest-growing addiction in the United States.
It is addictive
It is addictive to gamble. Gamblers tend to set limits for their bankroll and number of bets each day, but their behavior becomes erratic. While losing often triggers an intense emotional response, winning more often produces a diminished emotional response. In addition to financial losses, gambling addiction can affect relationships and cause people to lie to cover up their behavior or steal to fund their habit. Symptoms of gambling addiction can be severe, but treatment options are available.
It can lead to other addictions
People who have an addictive disorder such as gambling may have other problems beyond the problem itself. These issues range from depression to alcohol abuse to personality disorders. Gambling addiction is similar to other substance abuse problems in that it can lead to financial ruin and even death. People who have this disorder often also have additional issues, such as drug or alcohol addiction, and may turn to crime as a means to maintain their habit. However, there are many warning signs that addiction may be on the rise.
It can be treated with cognitive behavioural therapy
Cognitive behavioural therapy is an effective treatment for gambling-related problems. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MHS) has published guidelines on treating gambling disorders and recommends CBT. These guidelines include high-quality case control studies and systematic reviews of scientific literature. The Singapore Ministry of Health recommends CBT for pathological gambling, as well. MHS is also a strong supporter of CBT, drawing from the VA/DoD clinical practice guidelines. CPGs are not legally binding, but clinicians should look for publications from recognized organizations. In addition, clinicians may rely on their own knowledge and clinical judgment to prescribe cognitive therapy for gambling-related disorders.
It affects loved ones
Family members of a gambling addict may be completely unaware of the signs, stages, and treatment available for the problem. The stress associated with compulsive gambling may lead to numerous health problems, including ulcers, bowel problems, muscle pain, headaches, and heart problems. Family members often forget to take care of themselves, causing further strain. To help, follow these tips to help your loved one deal with their gambling addiction.