The signs of a gambling addiction may be hard to recognize at first, but if you’ve been playing for some time, you’ve probably noticed that the activity is now more than just fun. Here are some warning signs:
Problem gambling is a disordered form of gambling
The research community has defined problem gambling as “a pattern of behavior that reaches a level of disordered behavior, compromising a person’s personal life and impairing his or her vocational pursuits.” The National Council on Problem Gambling defines the disorder as a continuum, with pathological and disordered gambling at the extreme end of the spectrum. Individuals who are considered problem gamblers devote more time and resources to gambling than other activities.
It is an impulse-control disorder
Pathological gambling is a common addiction with a genetic basis. This disorder was previously classified as an impulse-control disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It relates to a person’s inability to control urges, and it’s similar to substance abuse. People with pathological gambling may experience anxiety or compulsion before engaging in potentially harmful behaviors. The symptoms of gambling are similar to those of a variety of other addictions, such as alcohol or drug addiction.
It can be related to drugs or alcohol
There are many things to consider when trying to determine whether your problem is caused by drugs or alcohol. Using substances to cope with a difficult or painful experience can lead to serious consequences, including suicide. People with substance abuse problems are also more likely to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and they are at greater risk of car accidents. Aside from the physical dangers, drug addiction can cause problems with relationships, custody battles, and lowered work performance. It can also negatively impact a person’s ability to study and excel in school. In addition to the psychological and physical effects, substance use also increases the risk of theft and legal problems.
It can have negative psychological, physical, and social repercussions
The impact of gambling on people’s brain chemistry and cell structure is significant. Over time, it changes the reward system in the brain. As a result, a person addicted to gambling experiences a diminished sense of pleasure in other activities. Fortunately, there are methods to rebalance the brain’s chemistry and reduce the negative effects of gambling. The first step in treating gambling addiction is to identify your problem and get help.
It can be treated
While gambling may not be a physical addiction, it can still affect a person’s mental well-being. It can be treated in a similar manner to other addictions, including alcoholism and nicotine. Typically, treatment consists of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), in which a person tries to understand and manage their problem through talking. During CBT, the gambler looks at the causes of the problem, and replaces unhealthy beliefs with healthy ones. Other forms of therapy may include support groups and self-help guides.