Those who experience an urge to gamble, even though they’re aware of the negative consequences and/or have a desire to stop, are struggling with a gambling addiction. Problem gambling occurs when harm happens either to the gambler or others, rather than by the gambler’s behavior. In some instances, severe problem gambling may be a clinical, pathological disorder.
Gambling addiction can typically be described as any gambling that causes harm to the gambler or someone else in any way. These definitions are usually in combination with descriptions of the type of harm, or through the use of diagnostic criteria. The DSM-IV defines pathological gambling as distinctly different than someone who is gambling excessively due to a manic episode brought on by a condition like bipolar disorder. It is only when the gambling occurs independently of other impulsive, mood, or thought disorders that it is considered its own diagnosis.
Symptoms of This Type of Addiction
A person diagnosed with a gambling addiction must have at least five of the following symptoms:
Preoccupation: the individual has frequent thoughts about gambling experiences, be it past, present, or fantasy.
Tolerance: similar to drug tolerance, an individual requires larger or more frequent wagers to experience the same rush.
Withdrawal: restlessness and irritability with attempts to stop or reduce gambling.
Escape: individual gambles to improve mood or escape from problems.
Chasing: subject attempts to win back gambling losses by gambling more.
Lying: attempts to hide the extent of his or her gambling by lying to family, friends, therapists, etc.
Loss of control: unsuccessfully attempts to reduce and/or stop gambling.
Illegal acts: breaking the law in order to obtain gambling money or recover gambling losses. These acts include theft, embezzlement, fraud, or forgery.
Risked significant relationship: gambles despite risking or losing a job, relationship, or another significant opportunity.
Bailout: turning to family, friends, etc. in hopes of getting financial assistance as a result of gambling.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with a gambling addiction in South Florida, seek help today.
The Delray Center for Healing offers many treatment options, including both individual behavioral therapy and group therapy that are beneficial in treating gambling addiction and other process-related disorders. Please contact us today at 888.699.5679 for an initial consultation.
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Dr. Rodriguez founded the Delray Center in 2003 and built it on a foundation of core clinical, professional, and ethical principles that are adhered to still to this day. Dr. Rodriguez founded the Delray Center in 2003 and built it on a foundation of core clinical, professional, and ethical principles that are adhered to still to this day.