Gambling Addiction and Safer Gaming

Recently, scientists and mental health professionals decided to classify problem gambling as a behavioral addiction, the first of its kind, putting it in a category of disorders that also includes substance abuse.

The reason for this change comes from neuroscience research, which has shown that gambling addicts have a lot in common with drug and alcohol addicts, including changes in behavior and brain activity. This is not good for any addict actually. So to raise awareness on debilitating condition of gambling addiction an NGO named Safer Gaming is launched.

Gambling disorder

Pathological gambling is a disorder that can have many diverse and unintended consequences. From a medical perspective, pathological gamblers are at increased risk to develop stress-related conditions, such as hypertension, sleep deprivation, cardiovascular disease, and peptic ulcer disease. Common psychiatric sequelae of pathological gambling include exacerbation and initiation of major depressive episodes, anxiety disorders, or substance use disorders.

Unintended psychological consequences may also include intense levels of guilt and shame, deceptive practices, and heightened impulsivity/ impaired decision-making. Finally, the social consequences of pathological gambling can be enormous, often ranging from involvement with the legal system to lost productivity at work to strained interpersonal relationships. This article reviews the consequences of pathological gambling and will familiarize mental health clinicians with this psychiatric disorder. To improve this situation, Safer Gaming is taking many necessary steps to help people.

Problem gambling was first classified as a psychiatric disorder in 1980. In the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the American Psychiatric Association’s guide to psychiatric disorders, the condition was termed “pathological gambling” and classified as an impulse control disorder, alongside disorders like kleptomania and pyromania. In 2013, it was renamed “gambling disorder” and moved to the Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders category, which includes alcohol and drug addictions.

The decision to move gambling disorder alongside substance use disorders reflects a new understanding of the underlying commonalities between gambling and other addictions. There is a growing body of neuroscience and psychology research suggesting problem gambling is similar to drug addiction.

Many of the diagnostic criteria for gambling disorder share features with those for drug dependence, such as tolerance, withdrawal, repeated unsuccessful attempts to cut back or quit, and major interference in one’s life. Problem gamblers also report cravings and highs in response to gambling.

People with addictions often try to hide their condition, but a gambling addiction can be difficult to conceal. You may need frequent access to casinos or online gambling pools. Even if you gamble at home when no one is around, your addiction may begin to show itself in other areas of your life. Safer Gaming can help people to come out of these kind of addictions.

Symptoms of gambling addiction

If you have a gambling addiction, you may display some or all of the following behaviors:

• obsessing over any type of gambling

• gambling to feel better about life

• failing to control your gambling

• avoiding work or other commitments to gamble

• neglecting bills and expenses and using the money for gambling

• selling possessions to gamble

• stealing money to gamble

• lying about your gambling habit

• feeling guilty after a gambling session

• taking bigger and bigger risks while gambling

Although not frequently required, some people find that they need the structure afforded by an inpatient program at a treatment center to overcome a gambling addiction. But Safer Gaming can improve any addict’s mental quality in no time. It will really be helpful if you’re unable to avoid casinos or other gambling venues without help.

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