Gambling Addiction Treatment

The overwhelming majority of people who gamble don’t have a problem with it. But pathological gambling, often called compulsive gambling, is a mental health disorder. It’s classified as one by the American Psychiatric Association. Compulsive gambling becomes all-consuming. It takes over people’s lives. It can have a devastating effect.

Gambling addiction cuts across all age categories, all economic, cultural and educational categories. But one of the more vulnerable groups of people are older adults who are dealing with the onset of retirement, with the loss of a loved one, with being lonely. While their gambling may start out as a social activity, they may find themselves doing things they’ve never done before. Treatment should be customized according to the circumstances and the needs of each individual.

Gambling Addiction Help

In order to provide the help needed for the individual afflicted with gambling addiction we need to know the extent and the purpose of that individuals gambling habits.

Professional: Gambling is his or her primary source of income.

Casual Social Gambler: Gambling is one of many forms of entertainment and it is done infrequently.

Serious Social Gambler: Gambles as a major source of entertainment; plays regularly at one or more gambling games, and does so with great absorption and intensity.

Relief-and-Escape Gambler: Gambling plays a major space in one’s life equaling family and business importance; but the rest of the gambler’s life continues without integrity being seriously impaired; more like a pastime.

Compulsive Gambler: Gambling is their life; the family and business is ignored, and often resorts to crime to support his/her habit.

Antisocial Personality: Spends life earning money illegally and tries to win in gambling through illegal means.

Signs of Gambling Addiction

People who suspect they, a friend, or a family member may have a gambling problem should recognize the following warning signs:

  • Increasing preoccupation with gambling
  • Use of gambling as a way to escape problems or relieve depression
  • Inability to stop playing regardless of winning or losing, and despite constant vows to abstain
  • Restlessness or irritability when attempting to cut down or stop gambling
  • Use of alcohol, sleep, or drugs to escape
  • Lying to family members or others to hide their gambling activity
  • Impatience with family or friends
  • Relying on others for money to relieve a financial problem that arose due to gambling (legal and illegal sources)
  • Absenteeism and tardiness at work
  • Neglect of responsibility
  • Losing or jeopardizing an important relationship due to gambling
  • Wide mood swings
  • Belief when winning that it will not stop
  • Gambling another day to win back money lost gambling