Gambling is a type of wagering in which individuals place bets on a game or event of chance with the primary intent of winning a material or monetary prize. Gambling involves consideration, chance, and prize, and the outcome is known within a short period of time. Legal gambling is conducted in gaming companies, which offer gaming activities to the general public and may be regulated by various gaming control boards. Here are some signs that your bets may indicate you may have a gambling problem.
Problem gambling is an addictive behavior characterized by an urge to gamble in spite of the negative consequences. It can lead to financial and emotional devastation. Problem gambling can be mild or severe, and it often worsens over time. Previously known as pathological gambling, it has gained recognition as Impulse Control Disorder (ICD).
ICD-based criteria for problem gambling have evolved over the past 27 years. While they were initially based on the work of Emil Kraepelin, the criteria have changed. Researchers have expanded the criteria and have now developed an evaluative process based on surveys of 222 compulsive gamblers. This research also included 104 substance-abusing social gamblers. The researchers have been able to identify nine symptom criteria that are common among problem gamblers.
Signs of a problem
There are many signs that you may have a problem with gambling. If you find that your loved one is spending an excessive amount of time gambling and isn’t leaving much time for your family or your other interests, the problem might be more serious. You may notice a change in their personality, or they’ll be gone for long periods of time. Gambling addiction may lead to growing debts and secretive behavior with money. The person may even borrow money to finance the gambling.
While gambling is fun when done in the spirit of fun, it can be extremely dangerous when done with an obsession. Gambling addiction is sometimes referred to as a “hidden disease,” because it shows no outward physical signs. Instead, these symptoms can be as subtle as an increase in phone time. Other signs of a gambling problem include a deteriorating sleep quality, insomnia, and irritability.
If you suffer from compulsive gambling, treatment options range from professional counseling to self-help groups. Depending on the severity of your condition, you may also be prescribed medications or undergo a combination of both. Your physician will be able to determine whether you have co-occurring mental health or substance use disorders. Sometimes, you may find that a combination of treatments will be the most effective. However, the treatment for gambling addiction may vary from person to person, and there are no proven methods for treating it alone.
If you find it difficult to stop gambling alone, consider going to rehab. Inpatient rehab programs are geared toward treating severe gambling addiction. Individualized therapy can help you overcome your triggers and retrain your brain to stop gambling altogether. Some rehabs offer aftercare programs for those who are still addicted to gambling. The time commitment and professional support provided by a residential treatment center will help you make the best decision to overcome your addiction. You’ll also learn new skills and coping mechanisms that will help you avoid gambling and prevent further damage.