Gambling Addiction: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

As is the case with any game, gambling starts as fun, and with time, it turns into an addiction that ruins people’s lives. The urge and compulsion to gamble go beyond one’s control to overwhelming levels leading to addiction, and behavioral issues. In the long term, this could impact the health and wealth of a person, degrading the quality of their personal and professional lives. This article describes the symptoms of gambling addiction, the disorders associated with gambling, gambling addiction treatment options, and more.

What is a gambling addiction?

Most people enjoy gambling as a fun activity. But, with time, some people develop an addiction or an uncontrollable urge to gamble to an extent that they start to miss out on the other aspects of their lives. Several symptoms and signs emerge when this transits into a problem and this phase is very crucial. Such an addiction or what we call ‘compulsive gambling’ is dangerous, and people experience various problems ranging from financial issues to stress, anxiety, migraine, and other mental health problems. Despite recognizing and understanding the ill effects that gambling produces, there exists an unmanageable urge to continue to gamble.
The earlier the person is pushed for treatment, the easier is the recovery and the lower the chance of relapse. Though such disorders are hard to treat, early diagnosis complemented by a proper therapy could ensure a successful revival. Before the arrival of digital technologies and penetration of the internet, people were betting on horses at racing venues, or at cricket stadiums. But with the digital revolution and the internet becoming mainstream there is an option to gamble 24 *7 at the click of a mouse or flick of a wrist.

Signs and symptoms of gambling action

Gambling addiction develops several negative consequences over time. Gambling is not a direct financial problem, but more of an emotional issue resulting in financial consequences. Common signs and symptoms of gambling include:

  1. Feeling irresistible and displaying an urge to gamble
  2. Endeavoring to control the urge and still failing
  3. Miss out on other important actions
  4. Compromising the family and other personal relationships
  5. Spending more time on gambling
  6. Borrowing beyond the repaying capacity
  7. Stealing, or involving oneself in fraudulent activities to finance gambling
  8. Taking more and more risks gradually. Betting more than one can afford
  9. Guiltiness that results in stress, depression, anxiety, migraine, etc. following gambling
  10. Always involved in making plans for gambling

Gambling addiction treatment

For beginners

If you are a beginner and are looking for tips for gambling addiction treatment, the following may offer gambling addiction help. That you have realized gambling is distorting your family, personal and professional lives is in itself a step towards treating addiction.

  • Engage in an open conversation with your family member or a friend. Request their help as you may feel helpless and despondent several times when you are trying to get rid of gambling.
  • Do not take more money if you are involved in offline gambling. Similarly, do not take credit cards when you gamble online.
  • Spend more time with your family and friends
  • Involve yourself more in professional activities. Get engrossed in business or work or focus on earning more money
  • Look at gambling as a source of entertainment, rather than as a source of making money

For addiction

Over time, when people develop a compulsion to gamble, the feeling to gamble is very similar to the urge to consume a drug or alcohol. The feeling of highness that they get when they are involved in gambling is very similar to that they get when they consume drugs or alcohol. When they start losing money, they start to chase the losses, and in the attempt, they lose more and more financially, as well as develop an addiction or gambling disorder as they binge over the period. It is important to break this vicious cycle at some point because it only grows with time and this might become hard to handle at later stages.

Treatment options

1. Take a psychotherapy

A plethora of behavioral therapies and cognitive therapies have evolved to help gamblers get rid of addictive impulses, and engage themselves in a constructive activity. One-on-one, personal counseling sessions or taking up webinars in groups would help. Family therapy also yields better results. Gambling also impacts the family and so addressing gambling addiction requires addressing family issues and problems. Beyond recovering from gambling addiction, family therapies help discover a holistic solution as this can also solve family issues and heal relationships and problems.

2. Medications

When the patient has involved himself in gambling for prolonged periods, and the addiction has gone beyond what can be sorted by counseling or psychotherapies, you might need medications to overcome the urge to gamble. This is also the case when a person involves himself in gambling due to a medical condition such as bipolar disorder, ADHD, etc.. Medications, mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and other narcotic antagonists help overcome the gambling addiction.

3. Self-help groups

The best way to get rid of gambling addiction is to take help from people who have been through similar situations. Become part of self-help groups, forums, and other online communities like gamblers anonymous, debtors anonymous, and so on.

4. Lifestyle modifications

Of several lifestyle changes that you can bring about, the most important one is to voluntarily refrain from handling finances. Turn your financial activities to your spouse or to someone you truly trust.
Avoid meeting friends who motivate you to gamble or going to places where people gamble. You may also engage yourself with more professional, personal, activities. Spend more time with people you love.

For Family members or friends

If you are enduring problems or if you are impacted by someone who is involved in gambling, express what and how you feel about his or her activity. It is better to know that their behavior or activity is impacting you adversely and putting you under stress. If you think gambling has gone beyond their control and the person may require assistance, you may take them for professional gambling addiction help from professional therapists.

Residential gambling addiction treatment centers

Getting yourself or your loved one treated in residential gambling addiction treatment centers may help particularly when the addiction is at advanced stages. Abhasa rehabilitation center is one of the well-known gambling addiction treatment centers and has a record of helping thousands recover from gambling addiction. We offer a blend of counseling, psychotherapies, and medications depending on the intensity of the gambling addiction. Benefits of getting an inpatient gambling addiction treatment in an endeavor to stop gambling at Abhasa rehabilitation center include the following.

  • 24 * 7 in patient care
  • Special programs curated by therapists and counselors
  • Effective treatment for other associated disorders like ADHD
  • Therapeutic activities, Yoga, and counseling