Dealing with a loved one’s gambling addiction can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you feel guilty or ashamed. Getting help and guidance from friends and family members can ease your pain and make it clear that you are not alone. It can help to set limits in the way your loved one manages money and prevent relapses. As a family, the first responsibility you have is to protect yourself and your loved one’s well-being.
Often referred to as a “hidden addiction,” problem gambling is a serious mental disorder that can lead to financial, legal, emotional, and family problems. It can range from mild to severe and worsen over time. Problem gambling was previously known as compulsive gambling or pathological gaming. More recently, the American Psychiatric Association recognized it as a disorder known as Impulse Control Disorder. Here are some of the warning signs that someone may be experiencing this problem:
First, it is important to understand that people with problem gambling often have underlying comorbid conditions that make them attracted to the activity. Those with these conditions might find gambling appealing because it provides them with a distraction from their problems. In addition, this pathway reflects the Moran subtype models of problem gambling. The vulnerability pathway has been shown to be valid for both types of gambling, including those among adults, and it is useful in explaining problem gambling in women.
Signs of a problem
Gambling can be a dangerous addiction. The signs of gambling addiction can mimic those of drug or alcohol addiction. In some cases, people with a gambling problem spend a lot of time at the casino, stealing money or lying about where they’re at. The person may also become secretive with their money, borrowing money from friends or family to continue their gambling addiction. It’s important to talk with a doctor if you suspect you may have a problem.
Gambling can affect one’s social and psychological life. A person with a gambling addiction is often preoccupied with gambling, especially when they’re distressed or stressed. Often, they return to gambling even after they’ve lost money. This can lead to a number of psychological and physical issues. People with gambling addictions can suffer from migraines, restlessness, and even attempts at suicide. It’s vital to seek help if you suspect a friend or family member of a gambling problem.
There are a number of treatment options for gambling addiction. Individual therapy is a good option for people struggling with gambling addiction. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focuses on challenging negative thoughts and behaviors in an attempt to break the cycle of gambling. A 12-step program or support group can also help. For those with a dual diagnosis, a consultation with a consultant psychiatrist may be necessary. Both are chargeable services. The following are some of the most common treatment options for gambling addiction.
In addition to individual therapy, gambling addiction is a mental disorder. Because it is addictive, people who experience a gambling addiction will experience withdrawal symptoms. Individuals who want to overcome their problem may choose to engage in motivational interviewing or cognitive behavioral therapy. Regardless of the method chosen, it will be helpful for them to seek professional help. The goal of these treatment options is to help individuals overcome their addiction and find a life free of gambling.