Gambling disorder is a specific type of behavioral addiction. Sometimes, it is called compulsive gambling or gambling addiction. With this subset of behavioral addiction, the person who is affected is unable to control gambling habits. A person will have an ardent desire to gamble, just as a person addicted to a substance craves that substance. Gambling disorder can cause financial, social, and psychological damage, and there is a high chance that legal problems will come with the disorder.
Mobile (online) casinos add an extra layer of complexity to gambling disorder. A mobile casino gives a person easy access to gambling. The person can gamble from any place and at virtually any time. This can make it easier to hide the disorder from others, and it allows a person to more easily ignore the consequences. The person who uses a mobile casino does not have to physically handle money.
To be diagnosed with a gambling disorder, a person must meet a few criteria. To begin, a person who is addicted to gambling will repeatedly gamble in a problematic way that causes significant distress and issues. The addiction must affect a person’s ability to function properly, and its symptoms must have appeared for more than a year. The gambling should not be explainable by impulsivity during a manic episode, commonly found in patients with bipolar disorder.
Patients who have gambling disorder often attempt to hide their compulsive gambling from family members. These people do so by lying to their family and requesting financial help from others. In either case, most people claim that the gambling brings them an amazing feeling of excitement, or that the gambling helps them to escape from or numb that pains associated with daily life.
People with gambling disorder are likely to have comorbidity. A comorbidity is used to describe a person who has two or more disorders at the same time and how those disorders interact. Gambling addiction, like other addictions, leaves the person at a higher risk of anxiety, depression, and other addictive disorders. In some cases, a comorbidity will be treated with the gambling disorder, but if something such as depression is severe enough it will require treatment before gambling disorder can be addressed.
Because of the detrimental effects gambling disorder can have on a person’s relationships and finances, people who are addicted to gambling have an increased risk of attempting suicide. Any thoughts, mentions, or plans of suicide should be taken seriously and handled with care to preserve the life of the person threatening to attempt. If not handled properly, threats of suicide can easily transform into suicidal action.
People with gambling disorder should seek help to recover. Finding people with gambling disorder and going to group therapy or self-help groups is a terrific way for a person in recovery to find a support system that will help them keep working towards the goal of quitting gambling. Within a family, the disorder should be handled relatively openly. A person who is not addicted to gambling should take over finances, and, in the case that there are children, the addiction should be appropriately explained. These steps are vital to helping a person succeed in recovery.
Gambling disorder can be made worse by a few different actions. Denying the problem, lecturing the person who is addicted, or getting uncontrollably angry towards the person who is addicted will make recovery nearly impossible. The person who is recovering or currently addicted to gambling should be allowed to continue playing a role in the family. This can help motivate the person to seek recovery or to keep working towards the cessation of gambling.