Factors of risk that lead to the development of gambling problems.

Definition for gambling

            Gambling gets defined as playing games and taking actions that are risky for the chance of getting money. The gamblers place bets using money or items that are valuable if they have an outcome that is not certain. Despite the uncertain nature of the gambles that an individual engages in, they get involved in the activities for gambling to be able to win a certain amount of money or a specific amount of goods. Gambling addiction gets defined in other words like gambling that is compulsive, pathological, or a gambling disorder. Having a gambling problem or addiction happens when one keeps spending more money and time even when they keep losing, in addition to the negative impacts addiction has on the other aspects of their lives too(Potenza et al., 2019). Gambling addicts engage in such activities despite the harm their actions could cause to their families and friends and other people in their lives. They lose control of their urges to gamble despite the negative consequences it may cause in their lives.

DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria

            Individuals with gambling behavior that is problematic, which is recurrent and persistent, lead to distress and impairment and gets characterized by four or more of the symptoms that get discussed below.The individual feels the need to keep gambling with more amounts of money because the will to win more money keeps him more excited about gambling. The individual becomes irritable and restless when he cannot get the money he needs to when he gets the desire to gamble. Also, the individual ends up telling lies to hide the fact that he is engaging in gambling(Chui et al., 2018). In most cases, individuals that engage in gambling end up losing relationships that are important, opportunities for jobs, and career because they lose focus as they spend most of their time thinking about how to get resources for gambling. Even after losing, the gamblers still end up going back to gambling. When the individual gets into financial problems, they often end up relying on others by borrowing money which they eventually end up wasting on gambling. When the individual feels depressed, experiences anxiety, or gets depressed, she/he engages in gambling as a detraction from his problems.

Risk Factors

            There is a significant number of factors of risk that lead to the development of gambling problems. These factors of risk make it challenging for the pathological addict to stop gambling.  Some of the factors of risk get outlined in the discussion below. The first risk factor is growing up with parents that are addicted to gambling(Hing et al., 2017). A child that grows up in such an environment has a high chance of adopting the addictive behavior of their parents and ends up becoming gambling addicts too.The second factor if the risk is having mental issues like anxiety and depression, which lead one into engaging in gambling as a way of managing their mental problems. Third, having an early win is also another significant factor of risk. This happens especially when an individual engages in gambling the first time and wins big. This win creates a notion of false expectations in which the individual will always expect to win. With the idea that they have a chance of winning, the individual keeps gambling to achieve that big win again. This goes on and on and becomes addictive to a level that the individual can’t stop. This is common, especially in sports betting. A recent loss, boredom, problems with finances, drug and substance abuse, and having beliefs that are mistaken are other significant factors of risk that lead individuals into becoming addicted to gambling to the extent that it becomes challenging to stop. Identifying these factors of risk helps in making identification of whether one has a problem with gambling.

Warning Signs

            There is a significant list of warning signs that can be used to establish whether one has a problem with gambling. The warning signs are usually associated with the change in a person’s behavior. The first sign is that an individual engages in gambling to earn more money even after they win, and when they lose, they keep gambling to win the income that has been lost.The second warning sign is that when engaging in gambling, the individual gores beyond the amount he planned to gamble with.The third significant warning sign is that the individual stops caring much about his family and friends in the sense that he stops caring about how his actions affect them and the other people around him. These are some of the signs for warnings that exist in adults. For gambling addiction among the youth, some of the signs for warning include developing interest that is extreme in winning a lot of money, losing interest in friends and creating new ones, drop in athletic and academic performance that happens suddenly, and engaging in stealing and borrowing money among others(Zhao et al., 2018). Most of these signs for warning arise from the inability of the individual to control their urges that they fail to realize how it negatively affects them. However, the warning signs are different and unique among adolescents leading to a variation in the signs of the problems of gambling that each individual experiences.

Treatment options

            Gambling addiction gets considered by healthcare providers to be a psychological problem that can get managed through various options that are as follows.The first treatment suggested is a therapy for gamblers, which entails therapies that are intensive, followed by recovery in a setting that is group-based—for example,Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(Rizeanu, 2018). Professionals in mental health have established that the method has shown results that are promising in helping addicts in identifying the processes of thought that could have led them into engaging in gambling that is compulsive. This is because, in most cases, addicts do not realize that they are getting obsessed with the practice when they keep placing their bets and keep hoping to possibly win in the future. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy makes it possible for the addict to identify the root causes of the problem of addiction, which helps significantly in establishing the right solutions to the problem. Residential centers for gambling addiction treatment also help significantly in managing the problem of gambling in patients(Re et al., 2019). These centers provide therapy, psychological and medical supervision, programs for treating behavioral and psychological issues, and concurrent treatment for disorders associated with addiction in gambling. They are also able to provide round the clock care.

References

Chui, W. Y., Lee, S. K., Mok, Y. L. & Tsang, C. K. (2018). The diagnostic criteria of gambling disorder of DSM-5 in Chinese culture: By confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and item response theory (IRT). In Applied Psychology Readings (pp. 73-86). Springer, Singapore.

Hing, N., Russell, A. M., & Browne, M. (2017). Risk factors for gambling problems on online electronic gaming machines, race betting, and sports betting. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 779.

Potenza, M. N., Balodis, I. M., Derevensky, J., Grant, J. E., Petry, N. M., Verdejo-Garcia, A., & Yip, S. W. (2019). Gambling disorder. Nature Reviews Disease Primers, 5(1), 1-21.

Re, T. S., Bragazzi, N. L., Covelli, M., Poli, D., Dalpiaz, C., Benevene, P., &Zerbetto, R. (2019). Outcomes evaluation of ORTHOS: an intensive residential program for gambling addiction treatment.

Rizeanu, S. (2018). Cognitive-behavioral therapy for gambling addiction. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Clinical Applications, 61-81.

Zhao, Y., Marchica, L., Derevensky, J. L., &Ivoska, W. (2018). Mobile gambling among youth: A warning sign for problem gambling?. Journal of Gambling Issues, 38.

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