How to Identify a Gambling Addiction
What is it like having a gambling addiction?
Problem gambling is a medically diagnosable compulsive behavioral issue. That means that those who have it aren’t able to control their actions, or at least not fully as a healthy person would be able to. The symptoms include: being preoccupied with gambling to the point that it consumes your day-to-day life; trying to control your actions but failing and getting depressed over it; gambling in order to escape personal problems and reality in general; damaging relationships with your friends and family.
Is gambling a mental illness?
Gambling in itself isn’t an illness, and for many it’s just a harmless pastime that can be quite enjoyable. However, gambling addiction is not only an illness, but one that can cause serious harm not only to those who have it, but to their loved ones as well. A proper gambling addiction treatment is also similar to treating other mental illnesses, at least to an extent.
According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, it’s classified as an impulse control disorder, just like other addictions. The manual states that a person needs to exhibit five out of 12 possible symptoms for at least a year to be treated like an addict.
Why do people get addicted to gambling?
This is a difficult question to answer since there are usually multiple intertwined causes behind any addiction. There is evidence that some people have a predisposition towards addiction and thrill-seeking behavior. This leads to their gambling becoming a compulsion rather than a hobby.
At the same time, there can also be outside causes. For instance, those who are going through a difficult time are more likely to turn to gambling than those who have a stable personal life. These outside causes include depression, reaching the retirement age, personal trauma, and financial difficulties.
How do you beat a gambling addiction?
The good news is that there are many different ways to find gambling addiction counseling. There are many people who have battled this issue and come out on the other end better off, healthier, and with renewed personal relationships.
This is achieved with a mixture of therapy, medication, and a struggle to change your behavior. None of these can work until a person is ready to admit that they have a problem and that they need professional help to overcome it. Sometimes, that’s the hardest thing to do.
Can a gambler ever stop?
Yes. It can be extremely hard to overcome your gambling addiction, but you can change your relationship to gambling and thus stop gambling altogether, even if the urge remains dormant inside you. There are countless gambling addiction stories that prove this; you should take inspiration and comfort from them.