If you are constantly losing control over your gambling, you may be suffering from problem gambling. This impulse-control disorder is not limited to one particular type of gambling, but it affects many people, and can even lead to health problems that are unrelated to gambling. Fortunately, there are treatments available for this disorder, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
Problem gambling is an impulse-control disorder
A medical condition known as problem gambling is a potentially devastating addiction. Although it is treatable, most people are unaware of the risk. It can result from peer pressure, financial hardship, substance abuse, or mental health problems. Once thought to be a form of impulse control disorder, problem gambling is now a recognized mental health condition. Understanding the signs of the disorder is the first step to recovery. Listed below are some symptoms to watch for.
A person with a gambling problem has an irrational need to win money, which often results in a negative impact on their life. Problem gambling can lead to legal or financial problems, as well as a breakdown in personal relationships. It may even lead to the theft of money. In addition to the consequences on relationships, problem gamblers often end up in debt. And if they can’t afford to lose the money, they will start stealing to pay for it.
It can affect people of all ages
Many studies have found that regular gambling is associated with lower IQ, impulsivity, and higher external locus of control. Young people who regularly gamble are more likely to be male and have parents with problematic gambling behaviors. The risk for gambling increases with age, and it has also been associated with excessive alcohol consumption and smoking, and with a lower educational attainment. In addition, people who gamble regularly are more likely to be involved in harmful behaviors like social networking.
While gambling can be dangerous for all ages, it is most prevalent in younger adolescents. Children and adolescents who gamble regularly are likely to have higher risk for depression and suicide, but the effects of gambling on older people are more difficult to measure. Researchers are looking for ways to improve the understanding of gambling addiction in older adults. In particular, they are looking for interventions that will target the reasons for their gambling behaviors. For example, a person should not play roulette if they are a parent who has problems with gambling.
It can be treated with cognitive behavioural therapy
CBT is one of the most effective treatments for process addictions, including gambling. This treatment targets both the problem’s automatic thought patterns and the brain’s reward system. In the clinical simulation video below, the clinician teaches CBT techniques to a problem gambling client. The client and the clinician have already identified the problem areas and treatment goals. They use CBT to identify the function of gambling and prevent relapses.
The study included 136 problem gamblers with an average age of 35.6 years, and 18.4% were women. CBT participants showed a substantial reduction in gambling and improved on all outcome measures. Both groups rated their treatment sessions highly satisfactory. There were no significant differences in the outcomes between the two groups, although BCT gamblers exhibited better adherence to the treatment and returned to follow-up measures more frequently.