Gambling Addiction Treatment

WHAT IS A GAMBLING ADDICTION?

Sometimes known as pathological or compulsive gambling, the addiction can be defined as an impulse control disorder. To many the pastime of gambling is an occasional night out at the casino or placing a wager on an animal race or sporting event. 

However, to one who suffers from the addiction, gambling becomes a necessity and is used as a way to cope and deal with life. Characterised by an uncontrollable urge to take risks, this can present itself in many different areas in life. 

Aside of the obvious channels of gambling such as bookmakers and casinos the condition can manifest itself in a wide range of pursuits such as stocks and shares, new business ventures, theft and even property. 

Unfortunately as the compulsion takes hold the addict loses their grip on reality. Denial becomes stronger and the addict loses interest in life, relationships and themselves.

WHAT IS AN ADDICTION TO RISK TAKING?

There are many reasons for people to become engaged in thrill seeking activities. To some degree it is a normal part of life and can be pleasurable. Adrenalin is an essential hormone secreted during stressful or dangerous situations. 

However, some can become addicted to the rush that adrenalin provides and their desire for this can lead them to compulsively engage in dangerous activities. These activities can be physical (e.g. adrenaline sports), financial (gambling, trading), legal (persistent law breaking) or social (aggression/fighting, promiscuity, speeding).

As with all addiction a tolerance develops leading to a greater degree of risk taking and subsequent consequences.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

The symptoms of risk taking are diverse given the variation in pursuits to which the addiction can manifest.

  • Physically: It can result in injury, sleep deprivation, weight fluctuations and pale skin.
  • Emotionally: Depression and anxiety can occur along with an all consuming pre-occupation.
  • Behaviourally: The sufferer will frequently appear restless and irritable. s/he will appear to be holding onto secrets. The mere thought of acting out can create a state known as “hyper arousal” in anticipation of the behaviour.

It is not uncommon for secondary addictions to appear as a result of these addictions. 

Drug and Alcohol abuse can regularly be adopted as a method to deal with these symptoms.

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