There are many factors to consider when evaluating a patient for problems related to gambling. Many mental health professionals utilize the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to assess psychological problems. This publication lists gambling as an addictive behavior in the DSM-5 along with other substance abuse problems. In some cases, the disorder may not be immediately apparent, but can be difficult to recognize because of the similarities to substance-related disorders. Listed below are some of the factors to consider when screening for gambling disorders.
Identify the triggers of the problem and eliminate it. Gambling is a way to distract oneself from unpleasant feelings. The act of gambling may become a way of socializing and self-soothing. However, it is important to realize that the urge to gamble can lead to current gambling problems if left unchecked. In some cases, people with gambling problems may resort to lying about their behavior, so that others won’t understand the need to gamble. However, there are ways to alleviate boredom and limit the amount of money spent on gambling.
While online tests are not diagnostic, they may help identify certain gambling problems. Often, the answers to the questions on these tests are based on isolated incidents or experiences in the patient’s past. When a patient shows a pattern of behavior, it is helpful to use a comprehensive assessment of the patient’s gambling history, along with other steps in Motivational Interviewing to help them overcome their addiction. The health professional can also refer the patient to a licensed treatment provider.
The psychological and social consequences of gambling addiction can be devastating to the person suffering from it. In addition to the physical effects, problem gambling can have a negative impact on a person’s health and relationships. Even attempts at suicide have been linked to gambling addiction. Using a free online chat service to discuss problems related to gambling can help an addicted person take the necessary steps toward recovery. This service is confidential and available 24 hours a day. Further, it is possible to seek help if you feel that you may be experiencing a gambling problem.
Compulsive gambling has many social, financial, and emotional consequences. It can negatively impact any area of a person’s life. There are many methods of treatment for compulsive gambling, from medications to therapy. A behavioral therapy focuses on reducing the urge to gamble to teaching coping mechanisms. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is another option. It involves changing how a person thinks and behaves in the face of temptation.
Teenagers typically engage in two types of gambling – regulated and non-regulated. Most youth gamble infrequently, but some are involved in excessive gambling. While adults typically play commercially-operated games and buy lottery tickets, youth are more likely to engage in informal games. Although gambling is largely illegal, the legal age to participate in many jurisdictions is between 18 and 21 years old. Some youth celebrate reaching the legal age by going to a casino or buying lottery products from adults who are of legal gambling age.