A pronounced interest in gambling, sports betting, computer games, and places where games are played forms a person’s disease – gambling addiction.
Gambling addiction (ludomania) was officially recognised as an addiction in the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 2013. Similar to addictive substances such as methamphetamine and cocaine, gambling addiction is linked to the release of dopamine in the brain, meaning it is a real brain disease.
Remember that quality and licensed online casinos usually guarantee assistance in the treatment of gambling addiction. For example, top 10 Australian online casino can take the following actions to combat gambling addiction:
- set time or financial limits for the game.
- block access to the account for your IP or phone/email number.
- give contacts of trusted services for treatment.
Signs and symptoms of gambling addiction
A defining element of gambling addiction is that a person is completely absorbed in gambling activities and continues them compulsively, despite possible negative consequences. A person becomes obsessed with gambling, playing with increasing amounts of money to get the same thrill. Attempts to control, reduce or stop gambling are unsuccessful. When a person is unable to gamble, he or she feels anxious or irritable. There is an irresistible desire to win back the lost money by playing more and more. At the same time, a person often takes money on credit, borrows from friends, sometimes steals, thus forming huge debts that accumulate over time.
If you are addicted to gambling, you may exhibit the following behaviours:
- obsession with any kind of gambling;
- Inability to control your gambling;
- avoidance of work or other obligations, preferring to spend money on gambling
- neglecting to pay obligatory bills and other expenses and using this money to gamble;
- selling property, stealing money from the family to gamble;
- lying about addiction, about the facts of participation in gambling, hiding it from close people, colleagues and acquaintances;
- feelings of guilt after a gambling session;
- depressive symptoms, aggression, suicidal thoughts;
- constant increase of the bet amount during gambling.
You may also face the following consequences of gambling addiction
- destruction of friendships or family relationships;
- loss of a job, car or other personal property – pledging or selling property to get money for gambling.
How is gambling addiction treated?
With proper treatment, gambling addiction is treatable. As a result of therapy, a balanced attitude towards money is formed. Treatment is aimed at a complete rejection of gambling, as even episodic gambling can lead to a relapse. Treatment programmes help people develop control over their gambling behaviour.
The most effective programme is the “psychotherapeutic intensive” programme, which lasts 14 days of inpatient treatment. The programme includes a range of psychotherapeutic, pharmacological and physiotherapeutic treatments. The inpatient form of treatment focuses the patient on self-improvement and helps to remove external factors that distract from treatment. Another important element in the treatment programme is thematic tasks after consultations with specialists, which are performed immediately in the hospital and, if necessary, the patient immediately receives additional assistance to complete the task, so each working day in the treatment programme ends with a result.
The following specialists work with the patient:
- psychotherapist (counselling, hypnotherapy)
- neurologist (neurometabolic therapy)
- psychologists (social, family, addiction psychologist)
- physiotherapist (hardware methods)
In some cases, an outpatient treatment programme is available, with a daily visit period of 14-21 days.
Outpatient treatment programme – within this type of programme, the patient regularly attends psychotherapy sessions in the clinic, while continuing to live at home and participate in their usual social activities – study, work or other daily activities.
A feature of patients with gambling addiction.
They do not recognise the severity of their condition, since there are no visible health complications, they often compare themselves with alcohol and drug addicts who are clearly sick – that’s why you treat them, but I’m not like that, I don’t need help.
In our clinic, treatment begins with a comprehensive psychological diagnosis.
The result is a complete understanding by the patient of himself as a person, the state of the psyche, the characteristic features of the profile, the causal mechanism of the formation of the disease, the consequences of gambling addiction in the social, family and professional spheres of the patient’s life. Thus, the patient is consciously ready to work with specialists, knowing what specifically in his case it is necessary to change in himself, what to work on, his strengths and weaknesses, without hiding information about himself, about his thoughts and actions committed before the start of treatment.
Diagnostics guarantees the result of treatment, the patient and specialists work as a team, trusting each other.
We offer modern treatment methods based on scientific research and the principles of evidence-based medicine.
Gambling addiction is an addiction to gambling. You should realize that gambling addiction is a disease that requires mandatory treatment.
The problem of gambling addiction has existed since gambling emerged. Today, it is not necessary to play games whose ultimate goal is to make a profit. Most gambling addicts prefer computer entertainment with military, historical, and everyday themes.
This disease is special because it is very difficult to detect. For this reason, gambling addiction is called a hidden disease. This is due to the fact that a person who is addicted to gambling does not manifest it in any way (there are no physical signs that exist in drug or alcohol addiction).
But the problem of gambling addiction is no less serious than alcoholism or drug addiction. This disease requires urgent treatment, as its course becomes more complicated over time, and the consequences can be unpredictable.
Symptoms and consequences of gambling addiction
But how do you know that you need treatment for gambling addiction, and what are the signs of this disease? The most common symptoms of gambling addiction include the following:
- Gambling is out of control. If you can’t control yourself to stop in time and not lose all your money, even when you realise that the chances are minimal, this means that the disease is progressing and treatment for gambling addiction is essential.
- The patient tries to hide how they spend their time. Treatment is necessary if the gambling addict does not recognise that he or she cannot break away from the game and return to real life.
- The addict continues to play even when they run out of money. In such cases, we can talk about the main symptom of gambling addiction. A person goes into debt, gives away the last of their property and belongings to be able to win back and get their money back.
- The sense of time is lost. It seems to the patient that he or she has been playing for a few minutes, while in reality, it has been going on for hours.
- These signs indicate that gambling addiction treatment is needed. However, this problem can only be entrusted to professionals, so getting rid of gambling addiction is most effective in a rehabilitation centre where real specialists work.
If gambling addiction is accompanied by a desire to get money, then the main consequence of such a disease is the complete loss of money. A sick person in need of gambling addiction treatment can not only sell their belongings, but also constantly borrow money.
Stages of gambling addiction
There are four stages of gambling addiction:
- The first one is when a person plays periodically, and such entertainment is accompanied by dreams of significant winnings. Treatment of gambling addiction does not require significant effort and time.
- The second is characterised by frequent losses, which are accompanied by a feeling of acute despair. The patient may quit work, family, and friends. If you don’t see a doctor in time, the consequences can be unpredictable.
- The third stage is when a person needs professional help and treatment; at this stage of the disease, there is no way to overcome gambling addiction on their own.
- The fourth stage is accompanied by a feeling of complete hopelessness, and thoughts of suicide arise. At this stage, treatment for gambling addiction is urgently needed. The sooner it is started, the more chances there are to save the addict.
Treatment of gambling addiction in a clinic
At the initial stage of the disease, you need the help of a psychologist. Treatment should also include attempts to return a person to normal life. Starting from the second stage, you cannot do without the help of an experienced psychiatrist.
The advantages of treatment in a private clinic include the following
- help is provided by professionals who know what to do to overcome addiction;
- treatment is carried out anonymously;
- even those patients who have completely lost hope of returning to normal life have a chance to recover.
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