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Gambling Disorder and Its Treatment


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Gambling disorder or compulsive gambling is one-of-its-kind disorder that pushes a person to continue gambling even when it begins to affect your whole life. Do you understand what is gambling? It is that time when you are ready to risk something that you really appreciate otherwise just for the sake of turning it into something better and more worthy.

Compulsive gambling
Compulsive gambling makes you helpless to gamble

In actual, gambling works no less than a drug that boosts the reward system of your brain and makes you an addict. Do you feel vulnerable to compulsive gambling? If yes, you tend to repeatedly run after bets while building up your debt amount, and cutting your savings. You may sometimes even be persuaded to theft so that you could keep on gambling, no matter what – which is dangerous. These are symptoms of compulsive gambling, which holds the potential to completely devastate your life.

A heap of symptoms or trivial/major signs can come out as symptoms of gambling disorder. These are encompassed below:

  • You start taking bigger and more risks
  • You enjoy while you gamble
  • You tend to relive with your previous experiences
  • You feel guilty soon after for having gambled
  • You start lying because of this habit of yours
  • You are helpless to borrow money for gambling
  • You hide things
  • You fail to resist gambling

Certain factors may be responsible for the development of this unusual disorder in you, which may comprise:

Age – First of all, age plays a vital role in determining if you are vulnerable to getting this disorder or not. Usually, young and middle-aged groups are prone to compulsive gambling.

Gender – As compared to their female counterparts, men are more likely to be affected by compulsive gambling. Even though women also gamble, they hardly are prone to the disorder. Rather, they are more likely to feel depressed or anxious. Also, they may suffer from bipolar disorders in some cases. Nevertheless, patterns of gambling are very much similar in both the genders.

Personality Traits – If you are a work addict, you are more likely to be a gambling addict too. If you get bored very easily or remain tired for most of the time, you are more vulnerable to risking your belongings or money for gambling.

Mood disorders – If you are addicted to gambling, it is highly possible that you abuse substance or alcohol or experience mood or behavior disorders. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most prevalent problems in gamblers.

Family history – One of the simplest and most common reasons why you gamble helplessly may be one of your parents or family members, who was used to gambling continually (read more from - Could be gambling addiction an hereditary issue?).

At times, medications such as those that are recommended to treat Parkinson's disease or restless legs syndrome, or dopamine agonist may result in a side effect which causes compulsive behaviors like gambling.

Gambling addiction and alcohol abuse are strictly related
Gambling addiction makes you vulnerable to abusing alcohol and committing suicide

Experts say that gambling disorder may cause the affected to become depressed or commit suicides. They have a greater jeopardy of being divorced or separated, or of committing a crime. Thus, prevention techniques must be adopted in time or care should be taken before you become a victim.

Prevention Techniques

Although, preventing occurrence of a gambling problem is difficult, you may ascertain the aforementioned risk factors and take help if needed. It is suggested that you start avoiding gambling or going to places where it is carried out.

How to treat?

Treating gambling may not be child’s play; in fact, it is completely a difficult task. But, professional treatment may still help problem gamblers to a significant extent. Varied treatments that have shown effectiveness in treating the patients are:

  1. PsychotherapyCognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may fall under the category of psychological treatments, which has been tested by varied problem gamblers. This kind of treatment uses systematic exposure to a particular behavior such as gambling that you want to forget. CBT lets you learn how to diminish your urge to gamble as well as determines your negative or illogical beliefs and notions to replace the same with optimistic ones.
  2. Self-help – Self-help groups, including Gamblers Anonymous has come out to be truly helpful for a few gambling disorder patients.

Medications – You may also try consulting experts, who may sometimes recommend certain medications such as mood stabilizers or antidepressants, which are helpful in treating your gambling-related problems. Be it ADHD or depression. However, the disorder may not be treated to its root. Narcotic antagonists are some other medications that have proved their potential in curing substance abuse, which further helps in controlling your gambling disorder.