How to Recognize and Treat Problem Gambling


While gambling is a fun and enjoyable pastime when done with fun in mind, it can be harmful and potentially destructive if done inappropriately. Problem gambling is often referred to as a hidden addiction because it has few, if any, physical symptoms. The symptoms of problem gambling include excessive betting and spending more than you should. Here are some ways to identify and treat this problem. Symptoms of problem gambling may include:

Problem gambling

While gambling can be a pleasurable pastime, it can become dangerous when it takes over a person’s life. Problem gambling is often characterized as a hidden addiction, because the person’s symptoms are rarely visible. Despite its name, it is a serious health issue and can have devastating effects on an individual and their family. Tribal casinos in New Mexico are voluntarily contributing to problem gambling awareness programs. Here are some ways to recognize the signs of problem gambling.

First, consider the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for problem gambling. The DSM-IV focuses on the psychological reasons behind problem gambling. It has ten diagnostic criteria and is used by the American Psychiatric Association to identify mental disorders. Other diagnostic tools are the National Opinion Research Center DSM Screen for Gambling Problems, the Canadian Problem Gambling Inventory, and the Victorian Gambling Screen. All of these tools have different definitions of the symptoms of problem gambling.


The repercussions of problem gambling are not just felt by the individual who is addicted to it. The family and friends of an addicted person are often affected, too. Problem gamblers are more prone to domestic violence and child abuse. They may have trouble concentrating in school or at work, or they might even resort to suicide. Many of these symptoms are often overlooked or ignored. In addition, people with gambling problems often abuse alcohol and other drugs, which further compound their situation.

Compulsive gamblers withdraw from their families and friends. Their withdrawal may be prompted by feelings of guilt, a desire to keep the problem hidden, or the need to avoid the attention of loved ones. The withdrawal symptoms are often physical, as they can lead to social isolation. This is another warning sign that someone with a gambling problem needs to seek help. Compulsive gamblers withdraw from their friends and family, and many are not even aware of it.


Treatment for gambling addiction may require a number of steps. The first step involves identifying the problem and seeking medical attention. Inpatient rehabilitation facilities, for example, focus on changing the patient’s destructive thinking patterns. Patients are taught to identify negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. The next step may require medication management. Once an individual has successfully completed inpatient treatment, continued therapy may be required. Listed below are some steps to take in treatment.

Cutting back on gambling may trigger withdrawal symptoms. These include depression, insomnia, cravings, anxiety, and irritability. In some cases, a gambler may even engage in criminal activity as a way of gaining money. Such behaviors require treatment if they are to be overcome. In addition to mental health problems, people with gambling addictions are also more prone to alcohol and drug abuse. The process of treatment may be difficult, but it will be worth it once the addict has overcome the negative effects of gambling.