If you or a loved one is suffering from a gambling problem, you may want to consider treatment options. Although quitting gambling is never an easy process, you can get help from a support group or treatment program. Without professional help, the road to full recovery can be a long and arduous one. Friends and family support can help immensely, but they may not know the best way to assist you. This article will provide you with a few useful tips that can help you quit gambling.
The term “problem gambling” isn’t new. Its symptoms have been recognized for centuries. In 1780, Emil Kraepelin defined it as “gambling mania.” In 1980, the American Psychiatric Association published the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) to better diagnose problem gambling. Since then, the criteria for the diagnosis of problem gambling have evolved and are based on a more evaluative process. Researchers surveyed 222 compulsive gamblers and 104 substance-abusing social gamblers. The researchers then conducted cluster analyses of the data to identify nine symptom criteria for problem gambling.
Gambling is a fun pastime, but can become a serious addiction if it is done out of control. Problem gambling can occur in any age group, but is often referred to as a “hidden addiction” because it rarely has outward signs. The symptoms of problem gambling are not physical or obvious, but they may become more extreme over time. The causes and treatment for problem gambling are multifaceted, and identifying the symptoms early is key to preventing further damage.
Signs of a problem
Although gambling can be an enjoyable past time, it can be harmful if it is not done in moderation. Problem gambling is a hidden addiction, with few outward signs. This condition typically does not produce any physical symptoms and is often referred to as a “hidden addiction.” If you have noticed that someone is increasingly secretive about their spending, it may be time to seek professional help. They may also become irritable, restless, depressed, or anxious. They may even begin denying they have a gambling problem.
Although a gambling addiction can be hard to detect, loved ones can often catch a person in the early stages and help them take action. You may be concerned that your loved one has a gambling problem, and you can intervene by pointing out the signs and seeking professional help. You may want to ask friends and family members if they have noticed any of these behaviors. If you have a suspicion, you should seek professional help and talk to family and friends.
Several types of treatment options are available for gambling addiction. Self-help interventions, such as information workbooks, may be particularly helpful for people who are unable to afford professional treatment. These therapies are often accompanied by planned support from a treatment provider. For example, guided self-help interventions might involve a brief telephone call from a therapist. Motivational interviewing or motivational enhancement may also be used in conjunction with self-help interventions.
Individual therapy for gambling addiction may be necessary, since the disorder can result in a variety of symptoms. The goal of therapy is to help an addict identify and challenge damaging patterns that lead to gambling. Typically, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focuses on challenging harmful gambling thoughts and behaviors. Support groups, such as NA or AA, may also be helpful. Typically, these groups consist of a 12-step process. In addition to individual therapy, these programs also incorporate peer support.