Professional gamblers, social gamblers and then there are problem gamblers. Sometimes the problem gambler will see themselves as a professional or social gambler but the difference is that a professional gambler is not addicted.
Professional gamblers look to their skill rather than luck to make a living out of gambling. They are in control of themselves including the time and money spent on gambling. A social gambler is there for enjoyment and sees it as a form of entertainment and is also in control at all times.
Problem gambling is undertaken by those who are not in control of their involvement in gambling and will keep betting despite their negative circumstances. They are preoccupied with gambling and spend too much time and money doing so. An addiction to gambling is an impulse – control disorder and many who suffer from it are unable to stop gambling even through it is causing issues with their lives.
As there are no physical signs or clear symptoms like those of an alcoholic or drug addict there are some red flags to look out for:
- Keeping their gambling a secret or not being as honest about the amount of time or money they spend
- Getting a big high and a massive thrill out of betting high
- Escaping from their real life when gambling
- Keep gambling even though the money is meant to pay bills or debt
- Loved ones and friends are worried about your gambling
- Gamble regardless of the consequences
- Problem gamblers often have other issues such as a behaviour or mood disorder
What is the Cause
There is a selection of things that might add to the risk of becoming a problem gambler. These can be hereditary, biological and also to do with the environment the problem gambler was bought up in. Gambling addicts may feel a great urge to gamble and although have low funds find the high from the activity too much to leave, like the idea of being a successful gambler and often have other behaviour disorders.
Quitting gambling is hard and the gambling cycling is difficult to stop. Thinking they can win back the money they have lost is a real pull. However, it is possible to overcome a gambling addiction:
- Cognitive – behavioural therapy can give new skills that can change the thinking and behaviour that goes with gambling
- Medication in the form of antidepressants and mood stabilisers can help with other psychiatric problems that often accompany a gambling addiction such as depression, anxiety and ADHD. Substance abuse treating drugs, narcotic antagonists, have also been successful in treating some gambling addicts.