Pathological gamblers are those who engage in excessive and compulsive gambling. These individuals are prone to relapse and the onset of pathological gambling is often difficult to detect. The spectrum of gambling behaviors is dynamic, and individuals with problem gambling may eventually return to social gambling or discontinue the activity entirely. However, the length of time it takes to move from one level to another is believed to vary considerably. Fortunately, a wide range of medications and treatment options are available for gambling addiction.
Gambling addiction is a highly addictive behavior that can ruin a person’s life and even lead to bankruptcy. Pathological gamblers often have a history of financial and relationship problems. Some even attempt suicide. The main causes of pathological gambling are the loss of control over gambling, cognitive distortions about how the game works, and the illusion that they have some control over their behavior. These factors may contribute to the high rate of suicide among pathological gamblers.
Types of compulsive gambling
Many people with a gambling addiction are suffering from pathological gambling. These individuals have a tendency to gamble despite the negative consequences, including ruined relationships and finances. Although compulsive gamblers can often stop gambling temporarily, they generally return. In addition to losing their self-control, they may suffer from major depression. Compulsive gamblers need professional help to overcome their problem and regain control over their lives.
Medications used to treat substance addictions
Medications used to treat substance addictions or gambling disorders are often very helpful in controlling the craving for gambling and other forms of compulsive behavior. These medications, including antiseizure medications, mood stabilizers, and antidepressants, can reduce the urge to gamble and other forms of compulsive behavior. However, these medications are not the sole answer for treatment of gambling addictions. Aside from using medications, psychotherapy is also a crucial part of treatment for gambling addicts. Self-help interventions and financial counseling may also be important.
Psychological aspects of compulsive gambling
There are several psychological aspects to compulsive gambling, including the mental health problems associated with it. Gambling is often framed as a harmless activity that can be enjoyed at any time, and the normalization of such activity contributes to the increase in compulsive gambling. Compulsive gamblers, however, know that gambling is no harmless hobby. In fact, pathological gambling can exacerbate existing mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and personality disorders.
Signs of pathological gambling
Pathological gambling can cause significant negative consequences, including increased debt and a denial of losing money. These people also borrow money or use credit cards without thinking, and they may steal from friends or family to pay off debts. The signs of pathological gambling include mood swings, irritability, and clear discomfort without gambling. However, the warning signs of pathological gambling are much more severe than those of a typical gambling habit.