The prevalence of legalized gambling has increased over the past decade, but few studies have looked at the relationship between gambling and health. While gambling may not be considered a drug, it does have an addictive potential. In this article, we review screening for pathological gambling and its related health issues and suggest a role for general practitioners in assessing risk for pathological gambling. We also discuss how to treat and manage problem gambling. Listed below are some tips to help you find out whether you or a loved one is prone to the addiction.
The first step in overcoming a gambling addiction is to strengthen your support system. Make new friends outside of the gambling world. Volunteer for worthwhile causes, take educational classes, and consider joining a peer support group. Another good option is joining a gambling addiction group such as Gamblers Anonymous, a 12-step recovery program that follows the guidelines of Alcoholics Anonymous. Its participants must select a sponsor, who is a former gambler, to provide guidance.
Other treatments include therapy and medication. Some people have trouble changing their behavior and beliefs due to a gambling problem. Psychotherapy focuses on changing the unhealthy thoughts and behaviors that trigger compulsive behavior. Ultimately, it helps to teach the individual how to manage their gambling behaviors. For some people, counseling and medication can be helpful, but they must work with a specialist. Gambling addiction is a serious problem that requires treatment. You should never attempt to gamble alone and get help if you have no other options.
Research on the prevalence of problem gambling in young people is inconsistent. Young people may be more susceptible to developing problem gambling than older adults. It is important to know your age and gender when you are assessing for gambling disorder. A recent study in the United Kingdom concluded that male college students are more likely to experience problem gambling than their older counterparts. Nevertheless, it is possible that a gambling problem can be a sign of a deeper psychological problem.
The number of different forms of gambling and the frequency of participation are a good way to understand the prevalence of problem gambling. The number of major forms of gambling and the number of subtypes each person engages in determines the level of gambling involvement. Intensity is measured by the amount of money and time spent in gambling. Intensity increases when gambling is combined with other activities. If one person plays more than five types of gambling, it can be considered as high risk.
While gambling may be an escape from unpleasant emotions, it can be an effective way to relieve boredom. In some cases, problem gamblers can be tempted to gamble until they spend every last penny. If this is the case, they may use borrowed money, sell something, or steal something to pay for gambling. As a rule, you should avoid gambling situations by limiting your spending and avoiding temptation. If your loved one is experiencing gambling problems, try not to isolate him or her. Seek help from a trusted family member or attend a Gamblers Anonymous meeting.