In the United States, problem gambling is more accessible and acceptable than ever. Nearly four out of five adults report gambling at some point in their lives. Every state offers some form of legalized gambling, and many people can access these games from the comfort of their own home through the Internet or a mobile phone. In addition, there are currently around two million individuals who are addicted to gambling in the U.S., and another 20 million Americans who have some type of gambling problem.
While gambling is an easy way to self-soothe negative emotions, it can also be a social activity. If you feel the urge to gamble, try distracting yourself by doing something else, such as exercising, socializing, or practicing relaxation techniques. If you are unable to control your urges, try not to spend more money than you can afford. A small amount of cash is sufficient. If you can’t resist the urge, postpone your next gambling activity.
Problem gamblers need support in order to quit. It is important to help them make the decision to quit. Family members can encourage them to seek help and support them in their quest to break the gambling addiction. If a problem gambler is talking about suicide, take it seriously. Then, it’s time to seek help. If you suspect your loved one is suffering from gambling-related depression, call 999 or go to A&E immediately.
Gambling is an activity that can bring people together for fun and excitement. However, it can also be dangerous. Despite its fun benefits, gambling is a high-risk activity that is not recommended for anyone. The Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) promotes safer gambling and advocates for responsible gambling standards in Canada. You can learn more about responsible gambling through the RGC’s website. It’s easy to start a conversation about the risks and rewards of gambling by contacting the RGC.
Pathological gambling has similarities to substance addictions and has received treatment based on its similarities. In fact, the American Psychiatric Association has classified pathological gambling as an impulse-control disorder. Because it is an impulse-control disorder, antidepressants have not been effective in treating pathological gamblers. Instead, they have proven to be more effective than antidepressants for treating substance addictions. The best treatments for pathological gambling include opioid antagonists, which inhibit the brain cells that produce dopamine.
A major part of overcoming a gambling addiction is making a permanent commitment to stop. Since gambling is so readily accessible and is available to anyone with a computer, it’s impossible to completely cut off all temptation. Therefore, people in recovery need to surround themselves with supportive people and avoid environments that encourage their gambling habits. Once they stop gambling, they need to focus on other, more healthy activities that don’t involve the temptation of gambling. It is also important to make a commitment to a healthier lifestyle.
Pathological gamblers and substance addicts have similar genetic predispositions to reward seeking and impulsivity. In both cases, impulsivity and reward seeking are common, affecting two to seven percent of the population. Neuroscientists have found that gambling and substance addiction have similarities. In both cases, the brains’ reward circuitry links scattered brain regions in a way that ultimately leads to a desire to take big risks. Hence, these two disorders are likely related.