Pathological Gambling is a slow progressive disease that destroys the gambler’s life, and everyone who he/she has a serious relationship with. Pathological Gambling is a serious problem in today’s world of gambling. It is an easy disorder to diagnose due to the associated features of the disorder. Even though it is easy to diagnose, a Pathological Gambler is very hard to cure. Pathological Gambling is a very unhealthy mental disorder, which affects millions of people each year.
Are you preoccupied with the thought of gambling? Are you always trying to chase your losses? Have you ever lied to your family/friends about how much time you spend gambling or how much money you gamble? Do you only feel satisfied gambling with large amounts of money (http://www.addictionrecov.org/aboutgam.htm)? To most people, answering no to the previous questions is the norm, but individuals with a pathological gambling disorder would answer yes to many or all of the questions.
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There are multiple ways to diagnose Pathological Gambling. Individuals with Pathological Gambling often continue to gamble even while making strong attempts to control, and or cut back, their gambling. When persons with the disorder attempt to cut back from gambling they often become irritable, and restless (http://allpsych.com/disorders/impulse_control/gambling.html). The same reasons alcoholics drink are sometimes the same reasons why Pathological Gamblers gamble; because they think it’s a way of escaping from problems or it relieve feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, and depression (http://allpsych.com/disorders/impulse_control/gambling.html). When an individual has urgent needs to gamble to “chase” losses is another sign of Pathological Gambling. These are all signs of someone who desperately needs help. There are no winners in gambling, and a pathological gambler doesn’t want to acknowledge that simple fact.
Curing the disorder is said to be impossible. Like alcoholism, the only answer is to practice abstinence from gambling (www.bjc.org). Pathological Gambling is helped by individual therapy, or group therapy. This is very similar to how Alcoholism is treated when an alcoholic goes to an AA meeting, a person with Pathological Gambling disorder would go to a GA meeting, Gamblers’ Anonymous. GA groups are sprouting up in more places across the country due to gambling being allowed in many different areas and places then before, making it more accessible and more tempting then in the past when gambling was only allowed in places like Las Vegas and Atlantic City (http://www.update-software.com/abstracts/ab001521.htm). Now not only is there is OTB betting, but many casinos have been built on Indian reservations like Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. Neither is Pathological Gambling limited to adults anymore; many teens are gambling these days, partly from the ease of access with the Internet.
The signs of Pathological Gambling are very easily spotted and should be taken seriously, like alcoholism, it is a disease that can be treated. Counseling is very important to people with the disorder. Without help, Pathological Gambling can destroy an individual’s life, family, friends, job, and in some cases has lead to suicide. By taking therapy seriously and working at it, individuals with Pathological Gambling can remove gambling from their life. Play your cards right, don’t let the cards play you.
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