Casinos are continually popping everywhere. Lottery and scratch card games are always a big seller. Also, there are numerous online gambling sites available. People are fascinated with the idea of risking something small to have the chance or a possibility of getting more significant money almost instantly. Some might argue that after all gambling is legal and it can’t be that hazardous since the person is not consuming any substance; however according to experts, gambling addiction is similar to any obsessive-compulsive disorder. It can be indirectly harmful to the body.
Gambling addiction promotes neglect for basic needs such as sleep, sustenance, grooming, career, and relationships. According to statistics, roughly 80% of adult Americans gamble on an annual basis, and it was estimated that there are 3 to 5 gamblers out of every 100 players who suffer from addiction. Moreover, studies show that around 50% of gambling addicts will commit a crime to support their habit. It is also estimated that nearly 750,000 young Americans from age 14 to 21 is suffering from severe addictive gambling disorder.
Treatment for gambling addiction varies depending on the case of the individual. Some of the treatment approaches include:
Psychodynamic is defined as the study of the mind, its mental processes and practical components that influence human motivations and behavior. Even though the effectiveness of this treatment approach is not proven through evaluation research, the psychoanalytic method is the most common form of treatment for pathological gamblers at the moment. It is believed that all human behaviors have meaning and function; it may have a defensive or adaptive purpose; thus, gambling is a mere expression of a psychological problem. Through this therapy, gamblers are made to understand their source of distress and confront it head-on.
The behavioral method is utilized to modify pathological gambling behavior by classical conditioning theory. In behavioral therapy, aversion treatment is used. This is exemplified by making patients recite phrases that describe gambling behavior while receiving low doses of electric shock. Also, clients receive reinforcement for good gambling behaviors like betting smaller amount of money, gambling at a minimal level, etc. Another example of the behavioral method is desensitization. Patients are asked to imagine scenes related to gaming that they find engaging and to learn how to relax and resist their cravings.
Cognitive and cognitive-behavioral
Researchers believe that irrational core beliefs cause gambling addiction about gambling risks, an illusion of control, biased evaluation of gambling outcomes and a false impression that gambling is the answer to their financial problems. Cognitive interventions are geared to counteract underlying attitudes and belief about gaming. Treatment includes teaching patients techniques to correct their wrong thought process. Also, the concepts of probability and randomness of gambling are emphasized.
This approach is relatively new to the treatment of pathological gambling. Various studies used lithium carbonate, clomipramine, carbamazepine, fluvoxamine, naltrexone and other SSRIs to manage the symptoms of pathologic gambling. Now, the problem is the compliance to the prescribed medications since most gamblers don’t know what to stop their habits.
Addiction based and multimodal
The treatment is based on the existing programs for alcoholic, Alcoholic Anonymous. It includes usage of recovering gamblers as the resource person and peer counselors, emphasis on the 12-step meeting, and education aspect about addiction including relapse prevention such as identification of triggers and problem-solving skills for cravings.
For more information on how to get treatment for gambling problems, you can visit a site like BetterHelp.com and possibly speak with one of the many online therapists readily available these days.