What is gambling addiction?
Gambling addiction is characterized by an inability to control impulses to gamble in spite of gambling’s detrimental effects on social, financial and psychological health. Gambling addicts, also known as pathological gamblers or compulsive gamblers, can be found in casinos, at the races, with bookies, or online.
There is no single cause of gambling addiction. Many gambling addicts initially turn to gambling as a way to ease stress, earn large amounts of money without having to work, or to fit in. Eventually, gambling addiction takes over lives. Like substance addictions, gambling addiction leads to tolerance and withdrawal symptoms upon quitting.
Characteristics of gambling addicts
Most gambling addicts demonstrate an unwillingness to accept reality, emotional insecurity and immaturity. People battling gambling addiction are typically preoccupied with gambling; they may lie about their gambling, feel out of control, and occasionally resort to illegal behavior in order to obtain gambling money or bail themselves out of debt. Mental illness or substance abuse sometimes accompanies gambling addiction.
Gambling Addiction Treatment
Gambling addiction treatment resembles treatment for alcohol addiction. Treatment plans typically involve a combination of counseling, medication, self-help and support groups. If substance or alcohol addiction coincides with gambling addiction, it may need to be addressed first.
Holistic, residential gambling addiction treatment programs can greatly benefit gambling addicts by providing them with private, therapeutic recovery atmospheres void of triggers and distractions.