Although women are more likely to become compulsive gamblers than men, their gambling patterns are becoming increasingly similar. Other factors that increase the risk of compulsive gambling include genetics, medications used to treat conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and restless legs syndrome, and personality traits. If you think you may have a problem with gambling, seek professional help. Gambling can have a significant impact on a person’s physical, psychological, and social well-being.
Although there are no definitive diagnostic criteria for identifying problem gambling, mental health professionals have come up with a set of criteria to help clinicians recognize this disorder. The most commonly used criteria for this condition are listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and include such things as repeated attempts to control gambling and other compulsive behaviors. For example, if a person is unable to control his or her gambling, they may also have alcohol, drug, or food addictions.
Psychological treatments for pathological gambling include psychotherapy, medication, or therapy. In some cases, medications such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, or narcotic antagonists can reduce a person’s urge to gamble. Compulsive gamblers may also benefit from self-help groups. The purpose of these groups is to help compulsive gamblers overcome the problems that accompanied their compulsive behavior.
Problem gambling can take many forms, from penny stock trading to high-risk speculative investing. Gambling is social, a way to relieve boredom, and even a form of entertainment. The more accessible gambling becomes, the more likely a person will become affected by it. Gambling is a serious addiction that can affect all areas of a person’s life, including relationships, work, and education. If you or a loved one suffers from gambling, it’s time to seek help as soon as possible.
Several studies have also found that framing gambling as a health issue reduces resistance to treatment. Problem gambling tends to be a progressive behavior, and it’s associated with depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. Framing gambling as a health problem may prevent the progression of the behavior by reducing the level of resistance and provoking a lifestyle inquiry. And as you can see, gambling is now much easier to access than it used to be.
If you suspect your loved one might have a gambling problem, it’s important to offer support and guidance. Problem gamblers need help to overcome their addiction, and family members can support them in this effort. But you should not berate them if they talk about committing suicide. If you think they may have a gambling problem, seek help immediately. This is an extremely difficult process and should be accompanied by professional help. But it can be done successfully.
Free gambling help is also available. If your problem is so severe that you feel you cannot stop gambling on your own, try to find a support group or a financial adviser to talk to. Then, you can take action by postponing your gambling and contemplating the consequences of your actions. If you are in debt, consider calling a 24-hour debt helpline for free advice. This will help you get the help you need to start rebuilding your life.