Pathological gambling is linked to having a problem of impulse-control when it comes to games of chance, and individuals suffering from it will continue to wager even when the very negative consequences thereof are affecting their home, work and social lives. Although everyone who wagers in any capacity is at risk, there are some groups of the population that have been determined to be particularly so, and these include young men and women in the age range of 20 to 40 years. No matter what a certain individual may particularly enjoy, be it horse races or rugby betting, wagering on the ups and downs of the financial markets or an election outcome in Kenya, the problem remains the same.
Although people who are suffering from pathological gambling will exhibit behaviours very similar to those with obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD, they are not seen as the same ailment. It has a variety of onsets, from an over-enjoyment of occasional gambling to it being resorted to as a result of a stressful situation, usually financial, and it is best to thoroughly acquaint yourself with its symptoms and treatments from the outset in order to make sure you don’t fall prey to it.
Spot the Signs of Problem Gambling
The biggest impediment to the treatment of pathological gambling is the overwhelming sense of shame that so often accompanies the behaviour, with the latter preventing individuals from reaching out for help before the situation becomes too desperate because of a fear of the accompanying disgrace. A misplaced sense of pride has prevented many people from getting the help they need before the situation veers out of control.
The American Psychiatric Association has a list of symptoms available for interested individuals to peruse, and it is recommended that you get help if you display five or more of the following signs of pathological gambling:
- Feelings of intense irritability and deep restlessness when gambling activity is curtailed or quit.
- Having to borrow money in order to offset losses as a result of gambling.
- Repeatedly trying to curtail gambling, or quit, with little to no success.
- Not being able to have the same amount of fun you have had before with smaller bets, with larger and larger amounts of money needing to be risked in order for you to enjoy laying wagers.
- Committing, or considering committing, illegal acts in order to get money with which to gamble.
- Needing to gamble as a form of release, in order to get away from stressful feelings and those of sadness and anxiety.
- Dishonesty about the amount of time or money spent gambling.
- Being preoccupied with reminisces of past gambling experiences or the planning of future opportunities to do so.
- Being unable to take advantage of career, romantic or educational opportunities because of gambling habits.
How Pathological Gambling is Handled
The best treatment for pathological gambling has been found to be a combination of cures, including pharmacological, therapeutic and self-help options like Gamblers’ Anonymous. Make sure you keep gambling responsibly, and reach out for the help you need if you start having any problems in betting or playing games like real money pokies before the situation becomes unmanageable.