The Dangers of Gambling and the Treatment of Gambling Disorders


Whether you are a gambling enthusiast or a victim of compulsive gambling, it is important to learn about the risks and consequences. This article discusses the dangers of gambling and the treatment of gambling disorders.

Legalized gambling is a leisure activity

Various forms of gambling were legalized in different parts of the world in the past few decades. Among the many legalized gambling venues are casinos, horse races, lotteries and poker, among others. In the United States, the industry has grown to become one of the country’s largest industries, generating revenue through numerous means. Native American tribes remain the primary players in the industry, while states continue to advertise the various forms of lotteries and slot machines with vigor. As a result, many religious institutions are now reliant on the revenues generated by legalized gaming.

While the industry has been around for some time, the most significant recent changes include the introduction of online gaming, the addition of a large number of new casinos, and the growth of the sports betting industry. Legalized gambling has also become a major source of revenue for the country’s religious institutions, particularly among Native American tribes.

Compulsive gambling can destroy lives

Thousands of people are affected by compulsive gambling each year, yet many do not seek help. Pathological gambling is a disorder that can destroy lives. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) lists pathological gambling as a type of addiction. It can be diagnosed through a psychological evaluation. It’s estimated that one in every five Americans will suffer from some form of problem gambling. It can cause serious psychological and physical distress, and can result in losing streaks and financial debt. In some cases, it can lead to a prison sentence. The symptoms of gambling addiction are similar to those of drug addiction.

Treatment for gambling disorder

Getting treatment for gambling disorder can be difficult. There are few practitioners who are trained to diagnose or treat this condition. Many practitioners don’t screen for gambling when screening for SUDs.

In DSM-5, gambling disorder is classified as an addictive disorder. Gambling addiction often co-occurs with other addictions and mental health issues. This can increase the risk of suicide, depression and other SUDs.

The main types of treatment for gambling disorder include behavioral, cognitive and pharmacological therapies. Behavioral therapy aims to help the person understand the problem and prevent it from happening again. Cognitive therapies aim to correct irrational thoughts and beliefs. The cognitive component also addresses external triggers and the patients’ attitudes. Pharmacological therapies can address dysregulation of neurotransmitter systems. Mood stabilizers and antidepressants may be helpful in combination with psychotherapy.