There are several criteria for diagnosing and treating problem gambling. Most mental health professionals use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association. Among these criteria is a gambling disorder, or the repeated attempt to control a problem gambling habit. When a person has an uncontrollable urge to gamble, it is called a “Gambling Disorder.”
Treatment for problem gambling may include therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Problem gambling is often a symptom of other conditions, such as bipolar disorder or depression. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help to change unhealthy thoughts and behaviors and to give people new ways to cope with the urge to gamble. A GamCare counselor can help a person identify and manage the underlying causes of his or her gambling. The Gambling Commission also offers advice on safe gambling and problem gambling.
Currently, there is no single treatment for pathological gambling, but several psychological interventions are highly effective. A clinical interview and assessment of suicide risk are critical parts of the overall assessment. Several structured instruments have been developed for the diagnosis, screening, and severity of pathological gambling. The most common ones are listed in Box 2. Many of these tools assess attitudes, beliefs, and cognitions related to gambling. These tools are particularly useful for the development of specific treatment plans. Some of these instruments may be used to monitor the patient’s response to treatment.
Forms of gambling
There are many forms of gambling, from lottery tickets to card games. Among them, lotteries are the most popular, but card games, sports betting, and charitable gambling are less common. Interestingly, males and females are equally likely to engage in these activities, though males are more likely to participate in activities that require skill or strategy. So, a study examining the gender differences in gambling found that both men and women were more likely to engage in lottery games.
Health effects of problem gambling
Research has indicated that problem gamblers are more likely to be obese, have a higher body mass index, and engage in other unhealthy lifestyle behaviors. These behaviors include excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, and television viewing. Substance abuse disorders are also more prevalent among problem gamblers. About 50 to 60 percent of problem gamblers are current or former smokers. This association is important because it could signal the onset of addiction. Problem gambling can also affect your family and significant other’s health.
Various treatment options for gambling addiction are available to help individuals recover from the problem. Therapy helps individuals with gambling addiction overcome their addictive behaviors and regain control of their lives. It can also help them repair damaged relationships and finances. Depending on the specific cause of the addiction, behavioral or cognitive therapy may be necessary. Individuals suffering from gambling addiction may also benefit from family therapy. Inpatient rehab programs focus on providing 24-hour care and peer support.