The exhilaration of gambling is like nothing else.
When the stakes are high and the pressure to make the right decision is intense, winning the bet gives a sensation of empowerment that is almost electrifying.
On the other hand, losing the bet causes the player to experience dire, hopeless and even suicidal emotions.
On a global scale, more than 5.77 million people suffer from a gambling disorder – an impulse-control disorder that causes social, physical and psychological ailments.
Below, we'll dive deeper into gambling addiction, and explain some telltale symptoms and main treatment options.
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People suffering from gambling compulsion often experience severe highs and lows that create depression, distress and anxiety.
Because stress is internalized, they may also suffer from intestinal disorders or even high blood pressure.
Some gamblers may even show suicidal signs, stemming from feelings of helplessness.
Compulsive gamblers may miss important events, such as birthdays or holidays.
They have a relentless urge to gamble and they have no control over that yearning, so this takes priority over other events.
Nonetheless, missing events is not necessarily a purposeful act, but more a symptom of their addiction.
To be diagnosed with a gambling addiction disorder, the gambler must display 4 out of 8 behavioural and emotional side effects for a time period of 12 months or more:
- Feeling the need to gamble in increasing amounts in order to experience a sensation of excitement.
- Experiencing feelings of restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop gambling.
- Being unsuccessful when trying to quit gambling.
- Choosing to gamble when experiencing feelings of distress as a way to cope.
- Repeatedly returning to gambling, even after extreme losses.
- Lying to conceal their gambling habit.
- Experiencing relationship and work problems in connection with their gambling habit.
- Borrowing money from others to continue gambling.
CBT, cognitive behavioural therapy is a popular form of treatment for people diagnosed with a gambling disorder.
The focus is to help reduce the urge to gamble by systematically exposing patients to behaviour that resembles gambling.
By changing the way that the gambler thinks and feels about gambling, gamblers are able to exercise greater willpower and restraint.
Antidepressants and mood stabilizers are often prescribed to patients seeking relief from the symptoms and illness.
Compulsive gamblers are prescribed narcotic antagonists which weaken compulsive urges.
Many gamblers often feel no one understands their thought processes and can't comprehend the mental struggles they're battling.
That's why self-help groups and meetings can be powerful – people can meet their peers who all share the same problem.
Talking to someone who knows exactly what they are going through, thinking, feeling, experiencing and battling with gives them the courage to fight the disease.
Gambling can be fun with all the table games, live casino options and much more but it should be enjoyed in moderation.
Don't overindulge and keep your gambling habits under control to avoid a painful emotional disorder.
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