If you are a frequent gambler, you may have developed a problem. Gambling addiction can have negative social, psychological, and physical consequences. Problem gambling is a form of impulse control disorder, and is dangerous for both the physical and psychological well-being of the person affected. Some problems associated with problem gambling include migraine, distress, intestinal disorders, and depression. Gamblers can also develop feelings of despondency, helplessness, and even attempt suicide.
The term problem gambling has been around for centuries, but the term was not officially coined until 1980 when the American Psychiatric Association published the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). The criteria for this disorder are based on a process of cluster analysis and surveying 222 compulsive gamblers. The study also included 104 social gamblers who engaged in harmful activities. Since that time, the criteria for this disorder have been revised and have become more reliable.
The most common form of treatment for problem gambling is counseling. There are also self-help groups called Gam-Anon, which hold meetings for loved ones of a gambling problem. A private nonprofit agency, the Evergreen Council on Problem Gambling, provides public education, advocacy and helpline services. Lastly, the National Council on Problem Gambling holds national conferences and accredits problem gambling treatment professionals. Ultimately, these services provide hope for individuals suffering from problem gambling.
Signs of a problem
Signs of a problem with gambling are a number of the same as signs of addiction to drugs. For example, an addict might lie and stay up late just to play the games he enjoys. He may also steal money. If the behavior seems uncontrollable, it may be an indication that a person has a gambling problem. Other warning signs include lying about where he lives and pinning his hopes on a “big win”.
A person experiencing compulsive gambling may deflect the symptoms of his problem by trying to hide it from family members and friends. However, these signs often show up in the lives of those around the addict. Pathological gamblers may lie to hide their gambling behavior and cover their losses. In addition, they may have trouble sleeping. They may also have a hard time concentrating. The signs of a gambling addiction are difficult to notice.
Despite resistance to therapy, the best treatment options for gambling addiction include cognitive behavioral therapy designed to change unhealthy beliefs. These types of therapies can be very beneficial in regaining control over one’s gambling behavior and can help people recover from the damage that it has caused their finances and relationships. Aside from therapy, people can also join support groups like Gamblers Anonymous, which focuses on the 12-step recovery process. For more information, visit treatment options for gambling addiction.
While most of these treatments are aimed at reducing the compulsive nature of gambling, some medications can be extremely helpful. Certain antidepressants, for example, can help patients manage their feelings of anxiety and depression. Antidepressants and mood stabilizers can also be very helpful for people with gambling addiction. Often, compulsive gambling is accompanied by other disorders, such as OCD, ADHD, and depression. These conditions may make self-help groups an excellent option for people with gambling addiction.
A variety of educational-based problem gambling prevention programs target at-risk behaviors in adolescents and prevent these behaviors from continuing into adulthood. This review considers the features of effective prevention programs and outlines recommendations for future efforts. The effectiveness of a prevention program depends on its content and targeted audience. The prevention program should include both protective and risk factors, according to Guilamo-Ramos et al. (2005). In addition, preventions must consider the influence of risk factors and protective factors on PG.
In this review, the researchers focused on the potential impact of prevention programs on problem gambling in schools. They conducted surveys, focus groups, and interviews with key informants. The results indicated that the intervention did not reduce gambling problems, but increased student knowledge of problem gambling. However, parents’ involvement was regarded positively as a social support, even if the results were relatively small. The authors suggest that future studies should include qualitative data to understand the desired outcome.