About Gambling Addiction – By Dr John Lim

About Gambling Addiction
By Dr John Lim, 2008

People may begin gambling for some excitement or fun. Gambling, however, can develop into a serious problem. When that happens, gambling begins to dominate a person’s life and hurt them and their loved ones. Gambling addiction has robbed many of the joy of life and stifled their abilities to contribute to the wellbeing of their families and society as a whole. The term gambling addiction includes but is not limited to the condition known as pathological or compulsive gambling.

If left untreated, problem gambling begins to grow and manifests in various forms of dysfunctional behaviors. Anyone regardless of age and gender can become a pathological gambler. Chain-smoking, depressions, alcoholism and drug consumption are often closely associated with pathological gambling. Pathological gamblers tend to have suicidal tendencies and are often anti-social. They also experience frequent uncontrollable mood swings.

With the widespread easy availability of online gambling, governments’ approvals of the building of more casinos and the legalizing of gambling including soccer gambling, gambling addiction is assuming alarming proportions. It is a contagion that must be addressed by government policy thinkers and social behavior professionals.

Gambling addiction behaviors cause disruptions in major areas of life including – Psychological, Social, Physical, and Vocational. Symptoms of Gambling Addiction include

  • Spending more money and time on gambling than intended
  • Denial and Hiding of gambling from family and friends
  • Believing that money is best used and directed in gambling
  • Lost of interest in other activities except for gambling.
  • Low productivity and disinterest in work
  • Irritability and frequent outbursts of anger
  • Lying for fear of being identified as a problem gambler
  • Frequent absenteeism from work
  • Not going home as often
  • Lying to borrow money for gambling
  • Obtaining money in unethical or illegal ways to gamble
  • An obsessive belief that losses will be recuperated the next round
  • A strong sense of hopelessness because of impossible-to-pay mounting losses

Often, gambling addiction is not the addict’s real problem, but rather his perceived solution for some underlying problems. The most effective way to breaking that cycle of compulsive gambling is a change in mental conditioning.

Treatments for Gambling Addiction

Counselling, psychotherapy or medications are current treatments for gambling addiction. Cognitive behavior therapy aims at replacing negative beliefs with healthy and positive ones. Support Groups are very helpful as a treatment as they can offer advice and moral support. Anti-depressant medications are often used to control and manage mood swings in gambling addicts.