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Compulsive Gambling Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

What Is Compulsive Gambling?

Compulsive gambling is an urge to gamble continuously despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop.

Gambling can stimulate the brain’s reward system much like drugs such as alcohol can, leading to addiction.

Causes And Risk Factors Of Compulsive Gambling:

Like many problems, compulsive gambling may result from a combination of biological, genetic and environmental factors. However, exact cause is yet to be found.

Some common risk factors include:

  • Other behavior or mood disorders.

People having ADHD, personality disorders, substance abuse problems etc are more prone to compulsive gambling

Compulsive gambling is more common in younger and middle-aged people.

Compulsive gambling is more common in men than in women

  • Family influence.

People whose parents have gambling problems are more likely to be compulsive gamblers.

Dopamine, a drug, has a side effect of compulsive behavior

  • Certain personality characteristics.

Being highly competitive, a workaholic, restless or easily bored may increase risks of compulsive gambling.

Symptoms Of Compulsive Gambling:

Some common symptoms of compulsive gambling may include the following:

  • Gaining a thrill from taking big gambling risks
  • Taking increasingly bigger gambling risks
  • Preoccupation with gambling
  • Reliving past gambling experiences
  • Gambling as a way to escape problems or feelings of helplessness, guilt or depression
  • Taking time from work or family life to gamble
  • Concealing or lying about gambling
  • Feeling guilt or remorse after gambling
  • Borrowing money or stealing to gamble
  • Failed efforts to cut back on gambling

Diagnosis Of Compulsive Gambling:

In order to be diagnosed with compulsive gambling, one needs to fulfill DSM criteria which need to be present for one year.

The criteria include the following salient points:

  • Is preoccupied with gambling, such as reliving past gambling experiences or planning ways to get gambling money
  • Needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money to become excited
  • Tries to control, cut back or stop gambling, without success
  • Gets restless or irritable when attempting to cut down on gambling
  • Gambles as a way to escape problems or to relieve feelings of helplessness or sadness
  • Chases losses, or tries to get back lost money by gambling more
  • Lies to family members, therapists or others to hide the extent of gambling
  • Jeopardizes or loses an important relationship, job, or educational or career opportunity because of gambling
  • Turns to others for money when the financial situation becomes desperate

Treatment Of Compulsive Gambling:

Treatment of compulsive gambling can be sub divided into three types.

  • Psychotherapy
  • Medications
  • Anti depressants
  • Mood stabilizers
  • Self-help groups

By : Natural Health News

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