Pathological gambling disorder

Consequences of pathological gambling on the gambler and his spouse. How Can I Help My Husband Stop Gambling? |

Individuals with gambling addictions develop a knack for begging for money, using everything from blunt threats to subtle emotional manipulation, suggests HelpGuide. Relatively few women, however, are in treatment programs for the disorder, most probably because of the greater social stigma attached to women who gamble.

In process addictions, the characteristic "rush" or "high" comes from the series of steps or actions that are involved in the addictive behavior. Envision his addiction as the problem that must be overcome.

In other words, the person with the disorder is reinforced by an emotional "high" rather than by the money itself. Denial is common among persons with the disorder. In most cases the disorder develops slowly over a period of years; however, there are cases of patients who gambled socially for decades and then began to gamble compulsively under the impact of a major life stressor, such as divorce or being laid off from work.

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Other researchers have described compulsive gamblers in general as highly competitive people who are restless and easily bored. Pathological gambling disorder is also distinguished from professional gambling, in which participants limit their risks and discipline their behavior.

Gamblers Anonymous can help in many cases, although the program has a high dropout and recurrence rate.

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If a person begins to feel, however, that he or she may have a problem, immediate treatment can prevent the development of a disorder that affects all areas of life and may have legal as well as economic consequences.

Some types of relaxation or behavioral therapy can also be helpful. For example, approximately 70 to 76 percent of pathological gamblers suffer from depression, and they are also five to 10 times more likely to exhibit suicidal behavior than those without the addiction, suggests George State University in the article "Depression, Suicide and Problem Gambling. Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry.

Prognosis There are very few statistics on the number of people successfully treated for pathological gambling disorder. Be Kind Pathological gambling has strong ties to various other mental health problems.

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Many people, however, have significant psychological causes for excessive gambling. Psychodynamic psychotherapy attempts to uncover any underlying psychological factors that trigger the gambling. Gamblers Anonymous also expects that people who stop gambling to understand that they probably will never be able to gamble again socially, just as recovering alcoholics cannot drink socially.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Diagnosis Pathological gambling disorder is more likely to be diagnosed when the affected person's spouse or family becomes concerned than to be self-reported. Description Pathological gambling disorder is characterized by uncontrollable gambling well beyond the point of a social or recreational activity, such that the gambling has a major disruptive effect on the gambler's life.

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The person may place bets on the outcome of an election, baseball or football games, or even the weather on a particular day.