We have heard stories about how gambling can be a serious problem that can not only affect oneself but also those of other people’s lives. I am talking about a news article I encountered online about a man who was troubled deeply with gambling issues, decided to take the whole casino which resulted in 37 deaths of innocent civilians. This event took place in the Philippines in May of 2017. At first, authorities thought it was a terrorist attack because the identified attacker was seen carrying heavy firearms. He set a portion of the casino on fire. Some of the terrified customers went on to hiding but eventually suffocated from the smoke. The man also set himself on fire as reported by the local enforcement officers.

Effects of gambling

Using the story above as an example, as the person continues to get involved with gambling activities, problems become more complicated and more hazardous towards the safety and health of the person. Not to mention that the behavior can also affect other persons as well.

Getting hooked on gambling is already considered an addiction, just like substance abuse and alcoholism. There are warning signs that will tell you if a person is already having problems with gambling:  Problems with money; loss of savings and increasing records of loans; physical problems like loss of weight, paleness, lack of sleep, and stomach problems due to high-stress levels.

Gambling can also lead to depression, severe anxiety problems and emotional disturbances like being irritable and getting angry easily.


Treatment options

There are a variety of treatment options available to help the person control gambling behaviors. Once the person agrees to stop the gambling habit, it is advisable to consult a mental health professional to start the process of therapy.

Psychotherapy – Persons with gambling problems are more successful with cognitive behavioral therapy. The therapy consists of 10 to 20 sessions where the therapist helps the person go through the process of finding ways and means to control impulses to gambling and modifying compulsions and obsessions to get oneself to gamble.

Pharmacologic interventions – Doctors will prescribe some medications to address any underlying depression and anxiety symptoms.

Support groups – Similar to Alcoholic Anonymous, gambling also has support groups that can help the person cope and go through healing.


There is hope

On a personal note, I would like to encourage everyone with a gambling problem to take initial steps to heal themselves. You are not only helping yourself but others as well. It’s never too late to look for help and change the track of your life. Click here for more options and help: