Addiction, Gamblers, and Compulsive Gambling
Gambling is the act of risking something of little value with the intention of winning something much more valuable later on with the same effort. There are two basic types of gambling: gambling for money and gambling for fun. For instance, card games like “ace betting” in which the object is to accumulate the highest score possible; or “roulette” in which the object is to roll a dice and then hope that your guess was right; both involve risks to your personal possessions and to the value of your future efforts. Gambling therefore involves three components: risk, consideration, and a reward.
Problem gambling is different from other forms of gambling because it presents a real danger to the gambler. This danger can be physical or psychological. For example, a problem gambler may experience a rapid loss of weight, experience withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of gambling, develop an addiction, or even become depressed and/or commit suicide. These are all typical of addictions and can occur separately or in combination. Many problem gamblers suffer from the emotional stigma of addiction as well.
A problem gambler’s inability to stop gambling is often the first step in seeking help for gambling addiction. The person may feel guilty, see gambling as an unimportant activity, and refuse to acknowledge the problem. It will be important to seek treatment for gambling addiction if the above mentioned symptoms are prominent. Treatment for compulsive gamblers will include both psychotherapy and drugs.