Gambling can cause serious problems for many people, if they are not able to control their urges to participate. Gambling can affect many aspects of a person’s life, and counselling is available to help those who may be suffering from addiction. Counselling is confidential, free, and available around the clock. If you feel that you are addicted to gambling, contact a local help centre today. To learn more about your options, see the sections below.
Problems associated with excessive gambling
Excessive gambling is considered a form of addiction, though it is distinct from drug addiction. Gambling involves the same neurotransmitters as drugs do, and the risk of dependence is similar. The goal of primary prevention activities is to make most people aware of the risks. Secondary prevention activities aim to identify those who have already developed a pattern of problem gambling and/or pathological gambling. Various tools can help to identify potential gambling disorders.
Researchers report conflicting results when trying to pinpoint the causes of excessive gambling. Some authors point to a lack of social support and low levels of employment as situational factors. Others focus on parents’ role in the development of problem gambling. Whether parents accept or discourage gambling, and whether they supervise their children, all influence the frequency of gambling-related problems. A supportive parental environment is protective, while an authoritarian family environment is detrimental.
Legalized forms of gambling
Legalized forms of gambling are a growing problem in the United States. According to recent surveys, two out of three 12-17 year olds report participating in gambling for money at least once in the past year. More than 15 million of them report gambling with the consent of an adult, and nearly two million have a gambling problem. Lottery play is the most common type of legalized gambling among juveniles, but there are other forms as well. In general, states that have more legal forms of gambling have higher rates of gambling, and the prevalence of problem gambling increases.
Legalized forms of gambling can benefit local charities, and they can provide tourism dollars for certain jurisdictions. However, the government should be careful not to promote these activities recklessly, particularly to those who are vulnerable. For example, the government should regulate gambling to ensure that the government does not subsidize gambling by rewarding a single person for their money.
Interventions for pathological gambling
Interventions for pathological gambling aim to minimize the negative consequences of the disorder. These methods include educational programs that teach gambling techniques, help-line services, and public and youth awareness campaigns. However, many of these interventions do not have adequate evidence-based outcomes. Therefore, research is necessary to determine the best treatment for pathological gamblers.
In the United States, only 30 states offer publicly funded gambling treatment. In addition, gambling is legal in all states except for Hawaii. There are many intensive outpatient and residential programs for pathological gamblers. However, many of them are too expensive and lack sufficient documentation to support their efficacy. In addition, pathological gamblers require ongoing monitoring, since relapse can cause major harm almost instantly. However, once a patient has regained control, monitoring frequency can be reduced.
Interventions for pathological gambling are also limited by health insurance policies and managed care contracts. Despite this, it is unclear to what extent these restrictions are hurting the gamblers’ chances of receiving treatment. In addition, the lack of reimbursement for pathological gambling treatments may discourage the gamblers from seeking treatment. Further, many states are moving toward separate licensing for pathological gambling counselors, which is counterproductive for the clients seeking help.