Of course, constant betting can lead individuals into severe financial trouble. We examine all of the best online gambling sites to make sure they offer plenty of games. This did not pass. We strictly adhere to the rules of responsible gaming and only permit people over 21 years of age who are physically in the State of New Jersey to access our games. The best slots and table games load in seconds, and you can even make real-cash deposits with a swipe of the finger. However, bailing the gambler out of debt may actually make matters worse by enabling their gambling problems to continue. A Handbook and Guide for Evaluation and Treatment describes the risks of Internet gambling and outlines structured recovery strategies to stop online gambling for addicts and their families.
Myths and Facts about Problem Gambling
One point that is repeatedly made throughout problem gambling literature is that outside sources do not cause these behaviors to manifest.
While stress may trigger behavior in someone who is a problem gambler, difficulties in one's personal or professional life are not the cause of such compulsions. Similarly, while the existence of legalized gambling in an area will give people more opportunities to gamble, it would be inaccurate to say that casinos or other gambling outlets directly cause problem gambling.
Often, even in the absence of legalized gambling, those with a compulsive habit will find illegal means to wager on whatever they can. However, it has been observed that fast-paced games are more likely to illicit problem behaviors - a slot machine with rapid bet placement, for instance, might be more attractive to those with a problem than a lottery that can only be played once per day.
There are also several risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing a gambling problem. Those who have addictions to alcohol or some drugs, such as cocaine, have shown increased vulnerability to compulsive gambling.
Several psychological disorders have also been identified as risk factors for problem gambling, including schizophrenia and antisocial personality disorder. While it might seem as though the symptoms of problem gambling should be obvious, particularly to those who bet compulsively, it is surprisingly common for both gamblers and those around them to miss the signs of a problem.
This is true in part because many of the issues involved with problem gambling can be rationalized by the gambler themselves, sometimes effectively masking the problem. While definitions of problem gambling vary around the world and from organization to organization, most professionals agree on the signs and symptoms associated with the disorder.
For instance, the American Psychiatric Association has come up with a list of ten diagnostic criteria that can be used to diagnose compulsive or pathological gambling in an individual. Those criteria are as follows:.
One need not show all of these symptoms to be diagnosed as a problem gambler. In order to be considered a pathological gambler, an individual must meet at least five of the above criteria, and they must not be the result of a separate mental health problem.
While problem gambling is more loosely defined, an individual who exhibits any of these symptoms may wish to take a closer look at their betting habits, and someone that regularly exhibits multiple criteria may well have a gambling problem. However, simply looking at this list is not enough to conclusively determine whether you have a gambling addiction. In order to make an accurate diagnosis, a trained physician must do a complete evaluation of an individual to ensure that some other medical condition is not causing these behaviors.
This might include a physical exam and an interview in order to perform a full mental health evaluation. Some of the negative effects of gambling are readily apparent, while others may be less obvious.
Of course, constant betting can lead individuals into severe financial trouble. A compulsive gambler can quickly accrue large debts, perhaps even resulting in poverty due to the strain from the costs of gambling, the loss of a home, or even complete bankruptcy.
Worse still, these financial problems can sometimes lead to legal issues, as some compulsive gamblers will resort to theft or other means in order to finance their habit. One of the most important negative effects to recognize is the mental strain that problem gambling can put on an individual. The actions taken as a result of the disorder can cause rifts in important relationships with friends and family, or jeopardize a person's career. Compulsive gambling can also lead to depression or even suicide.
A gambling addiction can also have repercussions on the people closest to the addict. According to statistics, families of those who are suffering from this type of behavior are more likely to experience child abuse or other forms of domestic violence. Even children who don't directly suffer from their parents' problem gambling may later develop issues such as depression, substance abuse, or behavioral problems.
There are many ways in which a compulsive gambler might seek treatment. There is no single treatment that is considered to be the standard way to treat gambling addiction. The most effective component to treating a gambling problem appears to be psychotherapy. With the help of a trained professional, counseling has a relatively high success rate in correcting problem behaviors. One reason why this approach may be particularly successful is the fact that the majority of individuals who have a gambling addiction have at least one other psychiatric problem; this means that, in addition to treating the addiction, a psychologist or psychiatrist may be able to help with related mental health issues as well.
Another important resource for problem gamblers is Gamblers' Anonymous GA. In conjunction with psychotherapy, GA has been found to help many recovering problem gamblers by providing them with an outlet to talk about their challenges and experiences with others who have gone through similar situations.
Self-help efforts and peer support systems have also been shown to aid in recovery, and as many as one-third of all individuals may recover without any formal treatment.
While no medications have been specifically designed to treat gambling addiction, some have shown promise in reducing the urge to wager, or the feelings of excitement that come while betting. These include antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, medications that have been used to address other addictions, and certain SSRIs.
While financial troubles are definitely a common and serious consequence of gambling addiction, one can have a serious problem without any financial hardship. For instance, gambling could be causing them to ignore work, relationships, or activities that were once important to them. Many problem gamblers miss the signs of their behavior becoming a compulsion because they only gamble on certain occasions, such as trips to a casino or during a particular sports season.
However, if the wagering they do at these times affects their life negatively, or otherwise fits the criteria for compulsive gambling, they still have a problem. A gambling problem can develop in anyone, and it has nothing to do with how responsible that person normally behaves. While problem gambling may lead a person to take irresponsible actions, it's a disorder that leads to a loss of control — not a sign that a person is generally irresponsible in life.
While problem gamblers will often find ways to rationalize their behavior, their friends and family are not responsible for an individual's behavior. This can be particularly hard to understand for parents of a compulsive gambler, who often blame themselves for their child's problem. One way to help a problem gambler is by paying off their debts or helping them out of their financial troubles. This one can be very difficult for relatives and close friends to accept, but it's often counterproductive to pay off the debts of a problem gambler.
In many cases, rather than solving the problem, it will only allow the gambler to continue their placing more bets, as they now feel they have a safety net should they find themselves in financial trouble again.
It can sometimes be difficult to tell if a loved one has a gambling problem. However, many of the criteria we mentioned above that can be used to determine if you are a problem gambler can also be used to look for signs of trouble in someone you care about. For instance, if you notice that someone you care about has started clearly lying about their gambling, or that they are letting your relationship or their relationship with others deteriorate in order to wager more, those are signs that something could be wrong.
In addition, if they begin to state or suggest that they might have a gambling problem, it's probably time to take them seriously - they may be looking for help, but are afraid to ask or fully admit the extent of the problem.
According to experts, the most important step that can be taken by family members and friends of a compulsive gambler is to educate themselves about the problem. If a gambling addiction issue is beyond prevention, you or someone you know could benefit from inpatient or outpatient treatment. They also offer resources online to help with addiction as well as prevention resources, in addition to Prevention Lane and has a hour confidential hotline. If you need to talk to a professional about your problem, you can reach the NCPG at or even talk to someone in a live chat on its website.
Any psychiatrist, psychologist, or certified therapist can help talk you through treatment for a gambling addiction. Befrienders Worldwide is a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting with people who have suicidal thoughts, whether they relate to gambling addiction or not, and to be a friend to anyone in need. If you or someone you know shows any signs of suicidal thoughts, contact Befrienders Worldwide immediately and talk to someone who can help. Please take these resources like education and not fear.
Most people gamble responsibly without any problems or addictions. Seek help immediately so you can solve the issue before it takes hold of your life. Gambling Addiction Explained The Mayo Clinic refers to gambling addiction as compulsive gambling and describes it as the uncontrollable urge to continue gambling no matter the toll it takes on your life. Symptoms of Gambling Addiction Gambling addiction is a serious condition and should be treated in the same manner as a drug or alcohol addiction, as the symptoms and effects can often be similar.
Some of the telltale signs of gambling addiction include: Increasingly larger gambling risks over time Preoccupation with gambling, skipping other obligations Gambling to escape problems or negative emotions Spending time away from family to gamble Lying about gambling and covering up losses Borrowing money or even stealing to keep gambling Failed efforts to quit or cut back Addiction can happen at any time, but it often starts casually and plunges into an addiction during a time of high stress or depression.
If you or someone you know shows these symptoms, contact a mental health care professional immediately: Commit fraud or theft to steal gambling money Steal from loved ones specifically Ask friends and family to bail out gambling debts Thoughts of suicide due to negative effects of addiction You should no ignore severe symtoms like these. At Risk Demographics Who is the most at risk to suffer from gambling addiction?