Signs and Symptoms of Problem Gambling

Several signs and symptoms of problem gambling may indicate that you are a gambler. In the first place, the gambler’s obsession with gambling may be preoccupied. He or she gambles when he or she is stressed, lonely, or upset. When money is scarce, the gambler often turns to gambling to make up for the loss. He or she often hides his or her gambling activities, and has lost important relationships, educational and career opportunities, and jobs. Furthermore, the gambler relies on others for money.

Problem gambling

The term problem gambling has been used in different ways over the years, by both the scientific and non-scientific communities. Problem gambling encompasses a range of behaviors and problems related to gambling that negatively impact a person’s life, including family life, career, and social relationships. According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, the condition is characterized by the need to gamble with increasingly larger amounts of money to experience the same feelings of excitement as when they first started. People with this disorder often experience restlessness and irritability when they attempt to cut back on their gambling and have made numerous unsuccessful attempts to control their behavior.

Compulsive gambling

A person with compulsive gambling needs treatment, because one bet leads to another. The addictive nature of gambling causes people to repeatedly engage in negative behaviors, including lying, scheming, and impulsive decisions. Even though the person may sincerely wish to quit gambling, they often return to the addiction. This cycle may lead to criminal activity, jail time, or even death. Getting help early can prevent compulsive gambling from becoming a serious issue.

Other forms of gambling

While the lottery is the most popular form of gambling in the world, bingo is a close relative. Lotteries are not limited to state-run entities; Indian tribes also run lotteries. Although illegal lotteries exist in many countries, lottery games are legal in most places. In 1995, sales of legal lotteries worldwide topped $95 billion, with the United States leading the way with $28.7 billion, and Germany coming in second with $9.2 billion. Despite their differences, all form of gambling is essentially the same, with minor variations reflecting the country’s culture.

Signs that you may be a problem gambler

Gambling addiction can affect the entire family. While the act of gambling is not addictive, the response to it can be. Pathological gamblers are unable to control their urges, often resorting to other crimes to fund their addiction. Their lives prioritize gambling over other activities, such as work or family. The addictive nature of gambling can lead to a growing debt, secretive behavior with money, and even to stealing. In addition, their relationships can suffer as a result of their problem.

Treatment options

Treatment for gambling addictions can be in the form of day treatment sessions, which are scheduled for an entire day or half-day. These sessions are highly beneficial for people who need ongoing support. Outpatient treatment is also available, and can include weekly one-on-one sessions or online therapy. It may be beneficial for people who have a dual diagnosis, as they can benefit from both forms of treatment. Often, patients with gambling addictions can benefit from psychotherapy, which can help them identify the triggers that lead them to gamble, and reverse their misperceptions about the addictive nature of gambling. Psychotherapy may be more effective than Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, but the same treatment results are not guaranteed.