The uncontrollable urge to keep repeating an activity and doing so while knowing that it has adverse consequences, is one way to define addiction. The addiction does not necessarily have to be related to drugs or alcohol. It may be a non-chemical, also called behavioral addiction. Behavioral addiction is the uncontrollable repetition of a behavior, other than consuming alcohol &/or drugs) and keep doing so despite adverse consequences. Common examples include gambling, porn and sex, gaming, shopping, eating, and many others. Up until recently, such behavioral addictions were not formally recognized as such, however, the most recent edition of American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5, a new category of Behavioral Addictions was created and addiction to gambling was the first condition included as: Gambling Disorder, with indication that more conditions will be added in this category in future. So, what is Gambling Disorder? This has also been referred to as “Problem Gambling”, and “Compulsive Gambling” in the past. Like others, addiction to gambling can often sneak up on otherwise intelligent and smart people. Gambling addiction has the very picture of drug and alcohol addiction. Whether you’re betting on Poker, online games, video games, cricket matches, card games, it is an addiction you can’t get rid of!
As noted above, the American Psychiatric Association has now classified gambling as an addictive disorder and not just an impulse control disorder. Studies have revealed that gambling addictions kindle the same region of the human brain, as in the case of addictions due to drugs.
Check if you have a gambling addiction!?
- The gambling ritual has created a ruckus in your life- you bet no matter what!
- It causes stress and sometimes leaves you depressed
- Your family is always worried about you and your personal life is in a mess
- You’re financially drained because you keep shelling out a lot of money to gamble
- You always want your gambling habit to be a secret.
- You cannot control yourself from gambling.
- You’re just absorbed with gambling all the time!
What gambling does to you!
Thanks to the internet, now gambling is just a door away. You can place your bets just by sitting at home. No wonder the number of women gamblers is on the rise! Losing bets leads to too much debt at times, which results in people indulging in crimes like theft, robbery, looting, fraud, etc., which makes the accused, serve a prison term as well, thus, spoiling his/her life. Studies and surveys have also shown that most gamblers are alcoholics too! There seems to be a close connection between gambling and alcohol addiction. All of this just leads you to panic, develop tension, have frequent problems in friendships and relationships with loved ones, monetary problems, have difficulties to concentrate on important things, developing suicidal tendencies, and so much more!
Don’t worry, there are solutions.
- Get help from a counselor: Counseling sessions from professionals can help you to break the habit.
- Consult Rehabs: There are a number of rehabilitation centers that caters to your addiction problems with the help of proper medication and treatments.
- Get a Cognitive-behavioral therapy: The therapists help you to get rid of your debilitated gambling thinking and much more.
- Develop alternative habits: Whenever you have the urge of gambling, train your brain to involve in other activities like meditation, working out, running, cycling, and other beneficial acts. You can also spend time by indulging in your hobbies that you had been missing out for long. Also, spend more time with your family and friends, who genuinely care for you. Think about all the negative consequences that you face when gambling. This should help you to get rid of it!
So what’s the take home?
Just like alcohol, cocaine, heroin, and other drugs, gambling can be a terrible addiction. It can destroy one’s marriage, relationships and friendships. Not only that, it can destroy the whole person, leading to stress, depression, financial crisis and even addiction to alcohol/drugs and so much more. However, one shouldn’t lose hope, as there are a number of treatments available to treat this addiction and get one on the path to health and recovery. So, if you see yourself or a loved one struggling with gambling disorder, get help as it works!