If you’re a problem gambler, the first step is admitting your problem. The next step is to seek help. There are professional therapists available online who can help you find a plan of action. BetterHelp matches you with a therapist based on your answers to a quiz. Note: BetterHelp is a reader-supported website, so it may earn a commission if you click the link. Although admitting to a gambling addiction is a difficult step, many people have overcome this addiction and found lasting success.
Problem gambling is a serious mental health problem, causing financial, social, and emotional problems for the gambler and those around them. The disorder can be mild or severe, and often worsens over time. Previously, it was known as pathological gambling, but the American Psychiatric Association has now recognized it as an Impulse Control Disorder.
If you or a loved one is suffering from problem gambling, you should seek help. There are many resources available, including professional gambling counselors, self-help groups, and peer support groups. The Gambling Commission estimates that up to 340,000 people in the UK have a gambling problem, with many more at risk.
Signs of a problem gambler
There are several signs that a person is a problem gambler. These include a constant fixation on gambling and a habit of risking more money than they can afford. Gamblers may also use gambling as an escape from reality or as a way to cope with depression. Some may even spend long hours away from home, miss meals, or take time off from work.
Problem gambling can be very destructive. It can lead to a person losing money and ruining their relationships. It can also lead to stealing and illegal activities. Some signs that a person is a problem gambler include spending more time gambling than on other activities, having larger losses than wins, and having growing debts. Some problem gamblers also keep a secret about their finances and borrow money from family or friends to fund their gambling habit.
Compulsive gambling can lead to a variety of physical and emotional symptoms. These include suicidal thoughts and attempts, increased risk-taking behavior, and changes in appetite. Gamblers may even develop pale skin and dark circles under their eyes. Additionally, they may suffer from depression and other mental health conditions.
In addition to physical and mental health problems, gambling can also negatively impact relationships. It can even affect a person’s performance at work. People with a gambling problem can cause harm to the people around them, and to the community. Some of these symptoms include decreased self-esteem and damaged relationships. If left untreated, these symptoms can lead to more serious harm.
Treatment options for gambling addiction include therapy, medication, and mutual help groups. Often, therapy focuses on changing the addictive pattern of thinking. Cognitive behavioral therapy is an example of this kind of treatment and challenges the addict’s irrational beliefs. Medication is another option for treatment and reduces the feeling of cravings.
Treatment programs for gambling addiction are usually a combination of individual and family therapy as well as a 12-step gambling support group. The goal is to help the patient overcome the gambling addiction and return to their lives. Often, the treatment plan includes therapy for alcoholism and other substance use disorders, as well.