Problem gambling is a serious condition that can affect a person’s life on many levels, including family and financial concerns, legal issues, and emotional problems. The condition can be mild or severe, and it tends to get worse over time. It was previously referred to as compulsive gambling or pathological gambling, but is now recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as an impulse control disorder.
Problem gambling can cause a person to feel utterly helpless, depressed, or guilty. It may even lead to a person lying to friends and family members about their gambling activities. Fortunately, there is help for problem gamblers.
Ways to prevent problem gambling
Problem gambling is a very serious problem and the first line of defence against it is education. Children who see their parents gamble are much more likely to develop the same bad habits. Positive parenting approaches such as limiting access to gambling websites, observing the activities of children on electronic devices and discussing gambling with health professionals are important ways to protect children from the consequences of gambling. Parents can also join online gambling support groups to learn more about problem gambling and seek support from a qualified professional.
Gambling can destroy a person’s relationships, finances, and performance. This is especially true for young people who may not fully understand the harmful consequences of their actions. Increasing the legal gambling age and restricting gambling access are two ways to limit the exposure of young people to gambling.
Mental health issues associated with compulsive gambling
Treatment for compulsive gambling involves identifying and addressing the underlying mental health issues. A treatment plan can include a combination of medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes. If the problem is severe, you may need a residential treatment center or an outpatient program. Treatment may also include a combination of self-help methods and structured internet-based programs. In some cases, you may need to address other mental health or substance abuse problems, as well.
Gambling addiction affects all aspects of a person’s life. It interferes with eating habits, sleep patterns, and physical health. It can also lead to depression, thoughts of suicide, and alcohol and drug problems.