Many people do not hear about gambling addiction as much as drug and alcohol addiction, but it is still affecting millions of Americans. When an individual is addicted to gambling, everyone in their life is also affected: coworkers loved ones, family, friends. So, what really is gambling addiction and how dangerous can it be?
What is Gambling Addiction?
There according to the clinical definition of addiction of gambling, the person must have four or more of the following criteria.
- Amount of money spent
- Frequency of gambling
- The types of games played
- Lack of control
There are many different variations of gambling. Money, types of games, and frequency may not be factors of an addiction to gambling, but rather the amount of control an individual has. A person can have a gambling problem when they continue to get negative results but are still unable to control their behavior and stop. The research conducted so far has not indicated any specific race, gender, or ethnicity to relate to gambling addiction, it can affect anyone. But, there is proof that family history and genetic factors can play a role in determining if someone is predispositions to developing a gambling disorder.
Is Gambling Addiction Dangerous?
As mentioned earlier, when an individual is addicted to gambling, everyone in that person’s life is also affected. “Disordered gambling has among the highest suicide rates of any mental disorders, including other addictions, with treatment-seeking individuals reporting rates of actual suicide attempts as high as 1 in 4-5, with the majority of the remainder reporting suicidal ideation.” Among suicide, there are also other consequences such as:
- Loss of jobs
- Extreme financial difficulties
- Potential criminal activities
- Harm to relationships
Many people are currently seeking treatment for an an addiction to gambling. Fortunately, for those who need the help, it is a treatable disorder. There are programs such as Gambler’s Anonymous and 12-step programs that have proven to help with treatment. Lighthouse Recovery Institute can help those who have a gambling addiction. If you or a loved one knows someone who is struggling with addiction, do not hesitate to call 1-844-I-CAN-CHANGE.