When a person is suffering an addiction it is important to find out what other problems they have in order to address the real issue and offer treatment. Dr. Jon Grant, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neuroscience from University of Chicago looked at other mental health issues and addictions suffered by gambling addicts.
Reasons to Gamble
There are many reasons why someone gambles. For some it is the feeling they get from the risk, while others may to integrate with others on a social level to relieve loneliness or there are those who use it as an escape from stress, anxiety and depression.
The problems associated with a gambling addiction can play havoc on relationships both at work and in your personal life, such as:
- Bad health
- Bad mental health
- Job loss
- Breaking the law
- Divorce or separation
It is not always the case that gambling is the cause of these problems, sometimes the person is experiencing these issues when they turn to gambling. Those with mental health problems are at great risk of becoming addicted to gambling. Others may find themselves with family and work related problems because of their gambling.
It has been found that those who are addicted to gambling also struggle with substance abuse. Dr. Grant points out that substance abuse is often 7 times higher in gamblers and cigarettes and alcohol are also regularly used. He also found that addictions that involve impulsive and risky behaviour, such as shopping, eating , sexual behaviour and theft were also associated with gambling.
Mental illness has been linked to gambling, sometimes as the cause but also as a result of an untreated mental illness. Depression and anxiety are two regular mental illnesses linked with gambling as some believe gambling will help them relax and enjoy themselves. However, in the long run gambling will make them feel worse and some even contemplate suicide. Along with depression and anxiety, mental illnesses like bipolar, attention-deficit and ADHD were discovered to be associated with a gambling addiction.
Dr. Grant stresses that within treatment for a gambling addiction all of these conditions should be identified and placed in order for full treatment. Treatment can be very successful and includes cognitive behavioural therapy, medications and support . A gambling addiction need not be the end of the line, help is there to enjoy a full and happy life.