A person addicted to gambling is someone who will continue to gamble despite negative consequences or a desire to stop. Someone who is a pathological gambler may experience social or familial costs as well. Doctors have recently redefined gambling addiction, changing it from an impulse control disorder to an addiction disorder. The best way to help someone addicted to gambling is to seek help from one of the many gambling addiction treatment centers nationwide.
There is no medical test for gambling addiction. Instead, there is a list of 10 traits like with any type of process addiction. If a person exhibits 5 or more of these traits, they need help for their gambling addiction. Those traits are:
Preoccupation: If the person has frequent thoughts of gambling experiences.
Tolerance: Similar to drug tolerances, the person requires more to get the same “rush.”
Withdrawal: The person may experience restlessness or irritability if they attempt to quit.
Escape: If a person uses gambling as a way to escape their problems.
Chasing: When a person continues to gamble, attempting to make up lost money.
Lying: If a person lies to family and friends about their gambling.
Loss of Control: The person has unsuccessfully attempted to reduce his or her gambling.
Illegal Acts: The persons has broken the law to secure money to gamble.
Risked a significant relationship: This does not necessarily have to be with a person, it could be an employer as well.
Bailout: The person has turned to family or friends for money.
A recent study by the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery has shown that the human brain, in a subject with gambling addiction, responds chemically to gambling the same way a drug addict would respond to drugs. This proves that an addiction to gambling is real, and just as dangerous and difficult to overcome as other addictions.
The risks associated with untreated gambling addictions are very real as well. A recent study in Australia showed an increase in suicidal tendencies associated with gambling addiction. These results were duplicated in a separate study at the University of California – San Diego, who found an increase in suicides among the gambling community.
There is no medicine to treat gambling addiction. Like Alcoholics Anonymous, a group called Gamblers Anonymous has formed with a similar 12-step program to help recovering gambling addicts. Therapy has also shown to help. Many gambling addiction treatment centers in the United States offer these, along with other peer support and self-help programs.
Convincing someone with a gambling addiction to get help can be extremely difficult. The best method is to contact us so we can help you find the best gambling addiction treatment center for you or your loved one. Most centers have programs for friends and families of gambling addicts and can be very beneficial, providing support and information about helping a family member or friend with a gambling addiction.