Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
When Is It a Problem?
What is pathologic gambling?
People who are pathologic gamblers
can't control their impulses to gamble. They end up losing a lot of money and
get into financial trouble. Gambling usually causes problems with their work,
school or relationships. However, in spite of these problems, a pathologic
gambler will continue to gamble.Men or
women of any age can be pathologic gamblers. Depression, drinking and taking
drugs often go along with pathologic gambling. Pathologic gamblers may also
think about committing suicide.
What causes pathologic gambling?
Many experts think that pathologic
gambling is an addiction because of the "rush" you feel when you win and lose
money. A person's experiences and personality type also play a large part.
Can pathologic gambling be treated?
Yes. However, pathologic gambling
can be hard to treat because you may not want to tell others about your problem.
First, you have to admit you have a gambling problem by telling your family and
friends. Second, you can join Gamblers Anonymous, a self-help group for problem
gamblers. Your family and friends can join Gam-Anon. This is a group that helps
family members and friends deal with a loved one who is a pathologic gambler.
Your family doctor can work with you and your family during your treatment. It's
important to complete the treatment program.
Your doctor may refer you to a mental
health expert for more help. This help may involve talking about your gambling
problem. It may also include advice about how to understand your gambling urges
and how to handle them. Treatment for pathologic gambling may also include
treatment for depression or substance abuse, if needed.
Council on Problem Gambling: www.ncpgambling.orgGamblers