In this article, we’ll look at the symptoms, risk factors, and treatment options for problem gambling. While we’re not recommending that you stop gambling immediately, you can learn more about it and start your own treatment. This is one of the most common forms of gambling problem. Luckily, there are many resources available to help you get help for gambling addiction. Listed below are some of the most effective methods. Fortunately, many of them are free.
Treatment for problem gambling often combines medications and therapy. It is sometimes a symptom of bipolar disorder or another underlying problem. While no one treatment is particularly effective, cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on helping the patient change unhealthy gambling thoughts and behaviors. Treatment can also include learning coping mechanisms. Among these strategies are cognitive-behavioral therapy and activity scheduling. The latter may be most helpful if the patient is experiencing an extreme craving for gambling.
The term problem gambling has existed for centuries. Emil Kraepelin, a Russian psychiatrist, first described it as “gambling mania.” The term problem gambling was officially recognized by the American Psychiatric Association in 1980. The criteria for defining problem gambling have changed over the years. In 2005, the National Council on Problem Gambling published revised criteria based on Robert Custer’s work. In this edition, the criteria for defining problem gambling have evolved based on the findings of a survey of 222 compulsive gamblers and 104 social gamblers. Researchers conducted cluster analyses to identify nine symptom criteria.
The authors of a review of studies on risk factors for gambling found that a lack of confidence in a particular factor did not preclude its inclusion in a list of potential risk factors. While these studies had varying methods of analysis, most of them were cross-sectional. Although some studies included large numbers of participants, some others had inadequate or low confidence in the evidence. However, a small group of risk factors were deemed important, including the body mass index and cigarette smoking.
Some risk factors are genetic, age, gender, and family history. Men are more prone to gambling addiction than women, and people who gamble tend to start later in life. Family or friend influence is a major risk factor, and taking certain medications that block dopamine, such as those for restless legs syndrome or Parkinson’s disease, increases the risk. The risk of developing compulsive gambling can reach as high as 60% in families with a history of gambling.
If you have a gambling addiction, you may want to look into residential or inpatient rehabilitation programs. Treatment for gambling addiction can be very effective, but even after you’ve successfully completed a rehabilitation program, there’s always the risk of relapse. You should contact a mental health professional or a physician if you think you might relapse. Here are some helpful tips for preventing relapse:
First, try to get out of your comfort zone. You may have to wait a while for the craving to subside. Another option is to distract yourself from gambling with other activities, such as reading or working out. Try new, healthy ways to relax and take your mind off the gambling. Alternatively, you can also seek out therapy to address your addiction. A therapist can help you assess your level of severity and develop a treatment plan that fits your specific needs.