The prevalence of gambling and its associated health risks have made primary care settings more apt to screen for addictions. Gambling has been recognized as a popular, legalized activity with potential to develop into a pathological habit. There is debate as to whether gambling behaviors are particularly problematic and should be evaluated, based on the relative risks and benefits of the behavior. Here, we will discuss ways to screen for pathological gambling. This will help you determine whether you should refer a patient for treatment.
A person with a gambling problem often hides their habit. They may lie to their friends and family, believing that others will not understand their need for money. They may even lie to themselves, feeling that they have no choice but to gamble. Ultimately, a gambling problem can have a devastating effect on a person’s life, both emotionally and physically. It can also affect the individual’s social and professional life. If you or someone you love is suffering from a gambling addiction, you should seek help immediately.
When you feel an urge to gamble, resist the urge to do so. Try visualizing what would happen if you lose money. Do other activities that take your mind off of gambling. Practice relaxation techniques, or spend time with friends who don’t gamble. If you feel like you can’t resist the temptation, it might be a good idea to postpone gambling. It’s best to stay away from gambling for as long as possible. As soon as you feel an urge to gamble, stop. It can lead to a lifetime of addiction, so make sure you don’t give up.
To help yourself and your loved one deal with their gambling habit, strengthen your support system. Reconnecting with family and friends outside of the gambling world can help you overcome the stigma that may accompany your problem. Try volunteering for a cause or taking education classes. Consider joining a peer support group like Gamblers Anonymous. This 12-step recovery program is based on Alcoholics Anonymous. It requires a sponsor who is a former gambler, and will give you the support you need.
Legal gambling activities vary from country to country. Many commercial establishments organize gambling activities so that they can easily make a percentage of the money wagered by patrons. Other large-scale activities, such as horse racing, may require professional or commercial organization. Gambling is not always illegal, but many countries don’t regulate the activity. In the United States alone, around $10 trillion in money is wagered on sports. It is estimated that about 30% of all Americans play at least one type of gambling each year.
The prevalence of PG among regular participants of various forms of gambling increased with time. One study found that the number of regular participants in a form of gambling increased with the number of games played. Interestingly, these findings held even when people had no history of gambling. Even more interesting, these findings are based on studies that control for other factors such as gambling involvement. In conclusion, gambling has become a problem that can lead to addiction, but it doesn’t have to be.