Developing a gambling addiction can lead to negative consequences. A person with an addiction will continue to gamble in order to experience the same “high” again. This cycle results in a vicious circle, as the cravings for more gambling lead to a weakened will to control impulses. These negative effects can be social, physical, and professional. There are several treatment options for problem gamblers. To begin, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of gambling addiction.
Problem gambling is an extreme behavior characterized by compulsive behavior and interferes with the person’s life. It has many symptoms, ranging from a preoccupation with gambling to a complete lack of control over the urge to play. During periods of increased gambling, people suffering from problem gambling may hide evidence of their behavior, skip out on family and social events, and be embarrassed about the behavior. If left untreated, the behavior can lead to disastrous consequences.
In order to diagnose a problem gambling disorder, one must meet a set of criteria based on the DSM-IV, or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV. This list identifies nine symptoms that are indicative of problem gambling. Listed below are some of the most common symptoms of problem gambling and their associated treatments. Once these criteria are met, a person can seek treatment for their problem gambling. However, it is important to note that treatment may not be appropriate for every person who struggles with gambling.
Symptoms of problem gambling
Gambling is an addictive behavior, and people who engage in problem gambling need to spend increasing amounts of money on gambling. Their attempts to limit their gambling usually fail, and they become restless and irritable. Their thoughts turn to gambling and they may lie about their involvement. They may even lose significant relationships or educational opportunities. In some cases, they are even unable to control their urges to gamble. The American Psychiatric Association describes problem gambling as an impulse control disorder.
A person with problem gambling often tries to hide it from those around them, lying to friends, family, and coworkers about their behavior. They may also borrow money from family, friends, and even criminals, and hope to win everything back later. Eventually, problem gamblers lose control of their lives and everything because of their gambling. They may also spend their money on gambling to solve their financial problems. Often, they end up in debt and unable to pay bills.
Treatment options for problem gamblers
Treatment options for problem gambling include self-help groups and therapy. Peer-based groups can be helpful, but research shows that they don’t always help. Some problem gamblers resist self-help groups, while others have shown significant improvement in their lives after participating in these groups. Depending on the problem, treatment may also involve family therapy or group counseling. Treatment for problem gamblers can help them regain control of their lives and finances.
Often, problem gambling co-occurs with mood disorders. To treat depression, a therapist may prescribe an anti-depressant to reduce the urges to gamble. If depression is a contributing factor, naltrexone is also a possible treatment option. This drug reduces cravings for drugs and may decrease the urge to gamble. Self-help groups may also help a problem gambler overcome their cravings for gambling.