If you’re having trouble controlling your urges to gamble, you may be suffering from a gambling problem. While a person who is addicted to gambling may not realize that it affects his or her life, there is help available. Gambling counsellors are confidential and available around the clock. They can help you identify whether you’re addicted to gambling or just need to find a healthier way to deal with your urges. Read on to learn more about gambling and treatment options.
The treatment for problem gambling varies, but most programs consist of counseling, step-based programs, peer support, and medication. There is no single type of treatment that’s most effective. In fact, there are no medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for pathological gambling. However, the following treatments are often effective for a wide variety of problem gamblers. This article will discuss three of the most effective methods.
Short-term, self-administered treatments for problem gambling include behavioral therapy, activity scheduling, desensitization, and hypnosis. Other treatments include medication, such as the SSRIparoxetine, which is effective in treating pathological gambling. The opioid antagonist drug nalmefene has been successfully trialed for treatment of compulsive gambling. Finally, metacognitive training for problem gambling is another treatment option for those suffering from compulsive gambling.
Types of gambling
There are several different types of gambling, including bingo, instant games, sports betting, horse betting, and lotteries. Commercial gambling includes games of chance, such as poker and casino table games, but there are also some hybrids. While many types of lottery games have a high probability of winning, the lottery remains one of the most popular forms of chance-based gambling. It has been around for centuries and is considered a low-risk activity for many players.
There are two primary measures of gambling intensity. One measures total expenditures, while the other focuses on the frequency of participation. The monthly spending measures are summed to determine the total annual gambling expenditures for each participant. The overall gambling frequency measure is based on how often participants report participating in a particular type of gambling. For example, if a person reports playing slots five times a week, they’re most likely to engage in this activity.
Impact of problem gambling
The social costs of problem gambling are enormous. While problem gamblers rarely report any physical symptoms, it is common for them to co-occur with other disorders. In fact, 96% of problem gamblers also meet the criteria for at least one other mental disorder. Gambling is also associated with the highest suicide rate of any addiction, with nearly one in five individuals attempting suicide. The National Council on Problem Gambling estimates that problem gambling costs the U.S. economy $7 billion per year in social costs. This includes job loss, criminal justice involvement, healthcare expenditures, and more.
Efforts to reduce problem gambling by increasing public awareness and prevention efforts are vital, and need to engage people who have lived experience of the disease. By engaging with people who understand the complexities of problem gambling, efforts can be more appropriately targeted. Authentic engagement has been shown to be effective for mental health and suicide prevention. For resources on how to engage with those with lived experience, visit the Suicide Prevention Resource Center or the Human Rights Institute of America (HRiA).
There are many treatment options available for people with gambling addiction, from self-help groups to professional counseling. A primary care physician can help you diagnose your gambling addiction and refer you to a mental health professional who specializes in this area. If you suspect you have co-occurring mental health issues, a doctor can determine if you need additional treatment to overcome your addiction. Sometimes, you may benefit from a combination of treatments to combat both the physical and psychological side effects of gambling.
Individual therapy can address both the physical and psychological aspects of gambling. For those who have comorbid substance abuse, individual therapy may be the best option. A 12-step program may also help. In some cases, residential gambling addiction treatment centers are the best option for these individuals. Some of these programs may involve a combination of individual and family therapy, as well as computer-based interventions. Some people with gambling addictions may benefit from a combination of therapies, including bibliotherapy and self-directed computer programs.