Like alcohol or drug abuse, gambling addiction can have varying degrees of severity. Untreated, it can have devastating consequences not only to the gambler, but to those in his or her family and work environment.
If you can’t stop gambling, you are probably suffering from a gambling addiction and may need help changing your habits.
Our doctors and counsellors at APPOTEK can advise you or a family member and make referrals for specialist treatment if necessary.
One clear sign of addiction is that the gambler considers continued gambling with increasing amounts of money to be the only solution to paying off their debts. Other signs of addiction include: playing more often and for bigger and bigger stakes, despite losses; getting annoyed and restless when they have to stop playing; lying about how much time is spent gambling; taking revenues to cover losses and constantly thinking how to get money for the next game. Relationship problems or crimes related to gambling can also indicate a gambling addiction.
Gambling addiction can be caused by mental or social problems – but ironically these problems will only be aggravated by continued gambling. Gambling can also be a way of repressing emotions such as depression and anxiety. Some addicts try to find new playmates after they lose, making it even harder for them to stop.
Prevention and Protection
If you or (a family member) knows that you are playing too much and want to take control of your habit, you can start by keeping a game diary. Write down the number games you’ve played, how much you have bet and how you felt before, during and after the game. Also write down how it feels when you are not playing. This diary can help you understand what triggers the gambling and help you to take actions to stop it.
Every case is different, so it’s important to contact a psychologist for help to find the right treatment for you. In some cases, therapy alone may be sufficient; in others, therapy may need to be supplemented with medicine treatment, but this would be only after an individual doctor assessment.
When to consult a doctor
If you notice that gambling is taking up more and more of your everyday life, affects your mood and your relationships with family and friends, it’s time to think of your gaming habits as an addiction. If you are unable to stop playing by yourself, it is important to contact your healthcare provider for advice and help. If your relative or a friend is a person with gambling problems, you should also seek help on their behalf.
How APPOTEK can help
APPOTEK can help with gambling addictions. Our doctors and psychologists can make individual assessments, referring people on for counselling, or to special clinics for further treatment and medication, where necessary.