Problem gambling is a condition in which a person becomes obsessed with a particular type of gambling. The person may gamble when he is upset, in order to win something, or to get even with someone. It is often characterized by lying to those around him, and a person may become reliant on others to pay for the gambling. Problem gambling can be mild or severe and can affect a person’s social, emotional, and professional lives. To find help, contact 1-800-GAMBLER. It is confidential and available to anyone suffering from gambling addiction.
Despite the increased legalization of gambling activities, few studies have explored the relationship between gambling and health. Several studies have shown that certain gambling behaviors are associated with non-gambling health issues, and the associated risk factors for pathological gambling vary widely. This article reviews screening strategies for pathological gambling, as well as the roles of general practitioners in evaluating these patients. Here, we’ll discuss how primary care physicians can recognize signs and symptoms of pathological gambling.
Treatment for problem gambling often involves counseling. Psychological treatments can address the root causes of the problem and help the person cope with the emotional effects of gambling. These treatments include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which teaches a person how to think differently about the behavior of gambling. People with gambling problems may think they’re better odds than others, or that they can recover their losses by gambling more. CBT helps these people understand how they think about their behaviors and change their thinking patterns to stop gambling.
Compulsive gambling is often caused by a mood disorder. People with compulsive gambling may be unable to control their impulses to gamble and continue to indulge in the behavior regardless of the risks involved. The compulsive behavior may even worsen the symptoms of other mental health issues. Compulsive gambling is often accompanied by other symptoms of depression, including anxiety and mood disorders. It may also be a result of a personality disorder such as ADHD.
While a few people may consider stock market gambling a form of gambling, it requires a high level of skill and knowledge. Another example is the payment of a life insurance premium. It is, in effect, a bet on dying within a specified period of time. If the person is lucky, the winning premiums are paid to their beneficiaries. The loser’s premiums go to the insurance company. The insurance company serves as the bookmaker and sets the odds based on actuarial data.
People suffering from gambling addiction should strengthen their social support network. They should reach out to family members and friends, and try to make new friends who are not interested in gambling. They should also enroll in education classes, volunteer for a worthy cause, and join peer support groups. Gamblers Anonymous is a 12-step recovery program patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous. In this program, members are assigned a sponsor, a fellow gambler who can offer guidance.