Pathological gambling is an addictive disorder that affects mood, behavior, and health. If you are constantly thinking about the next big bet, you might have a problem with gambling. You can learn how to stop this behavior by following these tips:
Pathological gambling is an addictive disorder
Like other addictive disorders, pathological gambling is often categorized as a compulsion. Pathological gambling is primarily driven by a desire to experience intense pleasure or relieve anxiety. In the 1980s, the American Psychiatric Association classified pathological gambling as an impulse-control disorder (ICD), grouped with pyromania and kleptomania. However, in the DSM-5, pathological gambling was moved into the chapter on addictions.
Gambling addiction affects between one and three percent of adults. Men are more likely to develop pathological gambling than women. Many of these individuals experience anxiety, depression, and recurrent thoughts of suicide. The financial and social consequences of pathological gambling can be dire, resulting in bankruptcy, divorce, or even job loss. In some cases, the stress from the gambling can cause heart attacks. It can even lead to the sale of drugs or theft.
It affects mood
People with gambling problems are twice as likely to be depressed as those without the problem. They are also 18 times more likely to experience severe psychological distress. Depression may push a person to seek relief through gambling, as it provides a ‘pick-me-up’ or a connection with others. Regardless of the reasons behind the problem, it is important to consider how gambling affects a person’s mood. Here are some signs to watch for when gambling.
It affects behavior
Gambling affects behavior in many ways. While a gambling addiction can be difficult to detect, it can also affect the health of an individual. While there are no medications specifically approved to treat this disorder, some may help treat co-occurring conditions, such as alcoholism or depression. In many cases, family and friends can offer support to a person struggling with gambling problems. However, the decision to stop gambling rests solely with the individual.
Gambling has been scientifically classified as a behavioral addiction by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which categorizes various mental health disorders. Like substance use disorders, gambling addicts crave the activity and seek ways to satisfy their addictions. Problem gambling is a form of behavioral addiction, and a person suffering from this disorder must exhibit four of its symptoms within the last 12 months. These symptoms include loss chasing, difficulty controlling urges, and financial harms.
It affects health
This debate is a synthesis of the different views on how gambling affects health. It explores complementary and contrasting views to develop a conceptual model for gambling that is based on public health. While gambling has a negative impact on health, it can also be beneficial in some cases. For instance, it can strengthen communities by contributing to a thriving economy. It may also increase stress. However, many studies have failed to identify the health risks associated with gambling.
It is essential to recognise that gambling causes a range of harmful effects, disproportionately affecting people from disadvantaged groups and placing a substantial economic burden on society. These effects are complex and multifactorial, reflecting the interplay between environmental, social, and individual processes. Therefore, it is imperative that policy makers acknowledge these risks and develop strategies to minimize or prevent these harms. In particular, policy makers should focus on the potential health harms of gambling and seek to strengthen their protective mechanisms.