Problem gambling is a long-lasting condition that is caused by a person’s obsession with the game of chance. Many people who gamble secretly or lie about it feel that others will not understand their problem. These people may be driven to gamble until they have spent their last dollar or up their bets to get back what they lost. Often, the consequences of a gambling problem can be devastating. Here are some of the warning signs that someone has a gambling problem.
Problem gamblers develop after legalization
Despite the benefits of legalized gambling, the problem rate rises with increased exposure. Among those exposed to the game, seventy-five percent of them experience financial difficulty. Approximately five million people meet the criteria of problem gambling; 500,000 of them are children. Problem gamblers tend to lose everything they have, including homes, college educations, and retirement funds. Often, the stress of losing everything leads to violent behavior, including abuse of children.
The National Council on Problem Gambling says that one in five problem gamblers will attempt suicide, a rate twice as high as those with other addictive behaviors. Watson, who has not gambled for more than a decade, says she no longer gambles, but has become a media consultant at the Tucson office of the American Friends Service Committee. The organization is also promoting criminal-justice reform. Unfortunately, the debate over gambling’s prevalence rates omits the experiences of those affected by the problem.
Addiction to gambling is a lifelong condition
The first step in overcoming a gambling addiction is admitting that you have a problem. This can be difficult for many people, particularly those who have lost a lot of money and have damaged relationships. But there is hope for people who are struggling with this condition. Admittedly, gambling addiction is not easy to overcome, but there are people who have overcome this problem. It is never too late to start your journey to recovery.
One of the main causes of addiction is that it alters brain chemistry. The brain releases dopamine when you perform pleasurable activities. The more you play the game, the more dopamine you produce. Moreover, this chemical makes you more susceptible to gambling. The brain’s prefrontal cortex, which regulates impulses, is also harmed by excessive dopamine production. If this problem becomes chronic, it will be very hard for you to quit gambling.
Costs of problem gambling
The costs of problem gambling are significant despite only affecting a small percentage of the population. According to estimates from the Victorian Gambling Commission, the cost of problem gambling to society is between $1.5 and $2 billion per year. Several factors contribute to the high cost of problem gambling. Many individuals are at risk of developing addiction, and problem gambling is often closely linked to other mental and physical health problems. However, causal relationships are often difficult to establish.
In addition to the personal costs associated with pathological gambling, businesses and society may incur substantial costs if their employees continue to engage in this behavior. Problem gamblers may take extended lunch breaks and borrow money from co-workers to finance their activities. These individuals are likely to become distracted and may even lose their jobs. In such a case, employers may have to bear the costs of severance or replacement. Employers may also be liable for losses associated with employee theft and embezzlement, which could finance the gambling habit.
Ways to prevent problem gambling
One of the easiest ways to stop problem gambling is to avoid exposing your children to it. Gambling companies are known to manipulate children and influence their decision-making processes, so limiting your child’s exposure to gambling is essential to preventing problem gambling. Moreover, limiting your child’s exposure to gambling can also reduce the risk of them becoming addicted to it. Listed below are some ways to help your child avoid becoming a problem gambler.
Therapy. Problem gambling is often a symptom of underlying conditions such as bipolar disorder or a family history of addiction. It’s possible to reduce the symptoms of bipolar disorder by using medication like narcotic antagonists. Other treatment options for problem gambling include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which involves modifying the way you think about gambling. The goal of CBT is to reduce your compulsive thoughts and increase your self-control, which is vital to keeping your gambling problems at bay.