Gambling is an activity wherein individuals risk something of value in hopes of obtaining a greater value. Special populations are also at risk for gambling addiction, including adolescents, aging adults, and veterans. The risk is also higher in the Latino and Asian communities. In this article, we will discuss the warning signs of problem gambling, and discuss treatments for this type of addiction. In order to identify if you may be at risk, please refer to the following resources:
If you or a loved one has been prone to problem gambling, you’re not alone. There are over 20 million Americans who have a gambling addiction. In fact, the American Psychiatric Association has classified problem gambling as a mental disorder. As with drug and alcohol addictions, problem gambling doesn’t always display obvious signs. While you might notice someone smelling like booze or slurring their speech, gambling addictions tend to go undetected longer than other habits. Gamblers, however, are discovered when they lose money or engage in negative behaviors.
The National Council on Problem Gambling lists studies stating that 2.2% of American adults are vulnerable to this addiction. The statistics are even higher for individuals who place bets on sports events or on the lottery. In Connecticut alone, three employees at the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling (CCPG) deal with approximately 58,000 problem gamblers. The people in the path of these addicts may be as many as 1,000. That’s why it is important to find help for people struggling with problem gambling.
Signs of a problem
One of the hallmark signs of an addiction to gambling is an inability to stop. The urge to gamble can cause a person to feel hopeless. If the problem continues, professional help may be needed. If you or someone you know is suffering from an addiction to gambling, seek treatment immediately. Below are some signs of a gambling problem and how to recognize them. Listed below are some of the most common symptoms of gambling addiction.
Depression and addiction to gambling often co-exist. Both conditions can cause lethargy, fatigue, and changes in appetite. While both are difficult to control, a gambling addiction can often result in denial. If your loved one’s symptoms are accompanied by depression, seek treatment for both conditions. The combination of these two issues can help you determine the best way to help them overcome their gambling addiction. You can also consider the options available for treatment for your loved one.
There are a number of treatment options available to those struggling with a gambling addiction. There are various types of treatment, such as intensive inpatient rehabilitation, day treatment sessions, and online therapy. Day treatment is beneficial for those who need daily support. Outpatient treatment is also available, and it includes weekly one-on-one sessions with a therapist or group of therapists, and learning how to control one’s gambling behaviors. Individuals with a gambling problem who suffer from a dual diagnosis may also benefit from a consultation with a psychiatrist. This can be costly, but can be an invaluable part of treatment.
Cognitive therapy has also been effective in treating pathological gambling. This form of therapy includes correcting incorrect beliefs and improving social skills. In a randomized controlled trial, the cognitive therapy for pathological gamblers was found to be significantly better than a no-treatment control group. In the same trial, the cognitive therapy was associated with improved relapse prevention and reduced gamblers’ total weekly expenditures. The researchers concluded that cognitive therapy was superior to wait-list control and other treatment methods for pathological gamblers.