Gambling – Causes, Effects, and Treatment For Problem Gamblers


Gambling is defined as a game of chance or skill, in which a person puts an item of value at risk in an attempt to win more money, a prize, or something of greater value. Problem gambling affects several groups of people. A number of them, including adolescents, aging adults, and Latino and Asian communities, have higher rates of gambling than the general population. This article focuses on the causes, effects, and treatment options for these individuals.

Problem gamblers

More problem gamblers visit their general practitioners than the general population. These gamblers often experience physical and mental problems associated with their habit. They may also suffer from relationship stress, financial difficulty, and family violence. Problem gambling may even lead to incarceration. Regardless of the severity of the problem, it is vital for those affected by the habit to seek help. Read on to learn more about treatment options and how to find the right treatment for yourself.

Treatment options

Gamblers with a history of comorbid substance abuse and gambling problems should consider treatment options for both disorders. Integrated treatment plans combine individual therapy, family therapy, and 12-step programs. Medication is not a cure-all for gambling addiction, but it can be an invaluable component of a treatment plan. However, medication must be prescribed by a physician. Self-medication can lead to a new addiction. Fortunately, there are a number of effective medications that can be helpful for gambling addiction.

Signs of a problem gambler

A problem gambler may lose interest in family or friends, lie about where they are or who they are with, and spend long periods of time at a gambling facility. Observations of these changes should be carefully monitored and challenged, and any gambling-related information provided should be accompanied by support. A gambler with a gambling problem should be immediately taken to a professional. Often, it is not the gambler’s fault, but their gambling habits may be a sign of a bigger problem.

Impact of a problem gambler on a person’s life

Problem gambling can be a debilitating disease, with long-term effects on an individual and his or her family. The countless financial and social costs can lead to poor health and lost opportunities, and compulsive gamblers may engage in criminal activities in order to fund their habit or to cover their gambling debts. The suicide rate for problem gamblers is one of the highest among all behavioral addictions. Luckily, there is help available.

Ways to prevent a problem gambler from returning to gambling

One of the most difficult challenges in preventing a problem gambler from returning to gambling is the lack of awareness about the risks involved. While substance abuse programs are easy to identify, gambling’s effects are not immediately obvious to family members. Problem gamblers may attribute their financial struggles to bad luck, while the fantasy of winning one more big bet may encourage them to gamble more. Fortunately, there are several ways to keep a problem gambler from returning to gambling.