Gambling addiction, also known as pathological gambling or compulsive gambling, is a type of impulse-control disorder. It is characterized by an inability to resist the urge to gamble, even when doing so causes negative consequences for the person’s financial, personal, or professional life.
People with gambling addiction may feel an intense need to gamble, and may feel anxious or distressed when they are unable to do so. They may also feel a sense of euphoria or excitement when they are gambling, which can make it difficult for them to stop.
Gambling addiction can have serious consequences, including financial problems, relationship difficulties, and problems at work or school.
What are the Warning Signs of Gambling Addiction?
There are several warning signs that may indicate someone is struggling with a gambling addiction. These can include:
- Preoccupation with gambling: Thinking about gambling or planning for the next opportunity to gamble, even when not actively gambling.
- Loss of control: Inability to limit the amount of time or money spent on gambling.
- Escalation: Increasing the amount of time or money spent on gambling in an attempt to achieve the same level of excitement.
- Unsuccessful attempts to stop: Repeated attempts to stop or reduce gambling, but being unable to do so.
- Restlessness or irritability when not gambling: Experiencing feelings of restlessness or irritability when unable to gamble.
- Lying about gambling: Lying to others about the amount of time or money spent on gambling.
- Gambling to escape problems: Using gambling as a way to escape from problems or negative emotions.
- Jeopardizing important relationships: Neglecting or damaging important relationships due to gambling.
- Borrowing money to gamble: Borrowing money or selling possessions to fund gambling.
If you or someone you know is experiencing several of these warning signs, it may be helpful to seek help for a potential gambling addiction.
Is Gambling Addiction Like Substance Use Disorder?
Gambling addiction and substance use disorder are both types of impulse control disorders, meaning that they involve an inability to resist the urge to engage in a behavior that is harmful to oneself or others. People with gambling addiction and substance use disorder may have similar risk factors, such as a family history of addiction, a history of trauma or abuse, and certain personality traits.
Both gambling addiction and substance use disorder can have serious negative consequences, such as financial problems, relationship difficulties, and problems at work or school. They can also lead to physical and mental health problems.
Some research has also suggested that there may be a link between gambling addiction and substance use disorder. For example, studies have found that people with gambling addiction are more likely to have co-occurring substance use disorders, and vice versa. This may be due in part to the fact that both types of addiction involve the release of dopamine in the brain, which can create a feeling of pleasure or reward.
It is important for individuals with gambling addiction or substance use disorder to seek help in order to overcome their addiction and address any related problems. Treatment options may include therapy, medication, and support groups.
How to Get Help for Gambling Addiction
- Reach out for support: Talk to a trusted friend, family member, or healthcare professional about your gambling addiction. It can be helpful to have a supportive network of people who can offer encouragement and help you through the process of recovery.
- Seek professional treatment: Consider seeking treatment from a qualified rehab center. They can help you understand the underlying causes of your addiction and develop coping strategies to manage your urges to gamble.
- Attend support groups: Consider joining a support group for individuals with gambling addiction. Support groups can provide a sense of community and help you feel less alone in your struggles.
- Consider medication: In some cases, medication may be helpful in managing gambling addiction. For example, certain medications have been shown to be effective in reducing the urge to gamble.
- Make lifestyle changes: Making lifestyle changes, such as avoiding triggers and setting limits on your gambling, can also be helpful in managing a gambling addiction.
It is important to remember that recovery from gambling addiction is a process and may take time. Seeking help and being open to treatment can increase the chances of success. To learn more about our treatment programs in near Boulder, Colorado, contact us.