Many people enjoy the game of gambling as harmless fun. But it can often become a problem. This type of compulsive attitude is often named problem gambling. Gambling addiction is quite harmful to the physical and psychological state of wellness. Victims who live with this addiction tend to suffer from symptoms of depression, distress, migraine, intestinal disorders along with other anxiety related issues. As with the typical cases of addiction, the consequences of gambling issue can lead to feelings of helplessness and despair. In extreme cases, it can lead to suicidal tendencies as well. Due to its severe consequences, gambling addiction is regarded as a significant public health concern in many countries. It is a record fact that in the United States, over 5.77 million people suffer from a gambling disorder and require treatment.
For a confirmed diagnosis of gambling addiction, authorities state that a person must display or experience a minimum of four out of the following in the last 12 months
- Emotions of restlessness or irritability when attempting to quit gambling
- Need to gamble with increasing amounts of cash to feel the excitement
- Consistent and repeated unsuccessful attempts to stop reduce and control gambling
- Often thinking about gambling and formulate plans to gamble
- Gambling when feeling distressed
- Repeated lying to conceal gambling activities
- Succumbing to gambling after losing money
- The tendency of depending on others for money to gamble
- Work or relationship problems due to gambling
In the general sense, treatment is divided into three categories:
- Therapy: It can either be CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy or behavior therapy. The result of behavior therapy is to help an individual reduce the urge to gamble by consistently and systematically exposing them to the behavior. Moreover, CBT helps guide and change the way in which the individual thinks and feels about gambling.
- Medications: often time’s prescription medication such as antidepressants and mood stabilizers are recommended to reduce the urges, symptoms, and illnesses that appear with gambling addictions. Certain antidepressants can reduce the gambling urge as well. It is for the fact that drugs are used to treat drug addictions of some compulsive gamblers.
- Self–help groups: Certain people find it particularly compelling to talk to others facing a similar situation.
Prevalence: How common is it?
There is no doubt that gambling is widespread. Due to increased accessibility through online gambling, it calls for a greater necessity of awareness with appropriate legislation. Anyone and everyone who offers gambling services has the duty of developing programs and policies to address underage and gambling addictions. For this, research, prevention, and treatment of gambling addiction should be encouraged.