Gambling problems can be difficult to cope with, especially for people who cannot control their urges. The problem often affects their lives in negative ways. Fortunately, there is help available. Counselling can be free and confidential. It is available 24 hours a day. Gambling is a bad habit that can damage a person’s health.
Making the decision to gamble
The first step in stopping a gambling habit is to make the decision to quit. If you’ve made the decision to quit, your next step is to resist the urge to gamble. One of the most difficult aspects of tackling a gambling addiction is the need to control money. If you’ve been using credit cards to satisfy your gambling urge, consider getting rid of them. Make your bank make automatic payments and keep only a small amount of cash in an account.
You might also want to consider seeking out support from someone you trust to help you deal with the urge. It’s a good idea to discuss your problem with them, but make sure you talk about things that are unrelated to gambling. Also, if you’re trying to quit gambling, find a healthy hobby or pastime.
A pathological gambling disorder is a condition in which an individual has an uncontrollable urge to gamble. Its main motivation is an intense craving for pleasure and the need to escape from anxiety. In the 1980s, the American Psychiatric Association classified pathological gambling as an impulse control disorder, along with other related disorders such as kleptomania and pyromania. In the DSM-5 manual, however, the disorder was moved to the section on addictions.
Compulsive gambling can be treated with therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. In some cases, it can be a symptom of another condition, such as bipolar disorder. Cognitive-behavioral therapy aims to change false beliefs about gambling and encourage the person to develop healthy coping methods.
Pathological gambling (PG) is a behavior disorder that results from persistent patterns of gambling. It affects as many as 0.4 to 1.6% of American adults. It usually starts in adolescence and develops into a problem over several years. Men and women develop PG in different ways. Men tend to start gambling earlier, and women usually develop the disorder at a younger age. Men are more likely to report problems with more strategic forms of gambling, while women report problems with less social forms of gambling.
Pathological gamblers tend to have weak willpower and struggle to resist the temptations of gambling. They are unable to resist the high-uncertain rewards and mounting monetary losses, and often end up with negative consequences for themselves, their families, and their finances.
Non-gambling health problems
Despite their prevalence, non-gambling health problems can be difficult to detect. These illnesses are often associated with other issues, such as smoking or drinking, and can be hard to distinguish from other conditions. These disorders can negatively impact the health of the gambler and their family, and can even affect their career. Problem gambling is a common concern among family physicians, but it may go undetected during a standard consultation.
Non-gambling health problems are often related to problem gambling, especially among young males. Researchers have also noted that problem gamblers have higher rates of alcohol consumption and drug use than the general population. Alcohol-dependent gamblers have higher rates of drug use than non-gamblers, and nearly 20% endorse binge drinking and other addictive behaviors.
There are many treatment options for people who have developed a gambling addiction. Some treatments are intensive and involve long-term counseling. Other treatments are more focused, such as cognitive behavioral therapy. These methods teach people how to change their thinking patterns and make healthier choices. These methods can help people to overcome the urge to gamble and rebuild their relationships.
Depending on the extent of the addiction, medications may be prescribed. These medications must be taken under the supervision of a medical professional. Self-medication is not recommended because it can worsen the condition. Inpatient rehab centers, for example, focus on patients with a severe gambling addiction.