The first step to dealing with gambling addiction is to recognize the symptoms of problem gambling and take action. When an urge strikes, a problem gambler must resist and take action to stop. Gambling is not possible without money, so it is important to control access to your wallet. Get rid of your credit cards or let someone else handle your money, cancel your online betting accounts, and only keep limited cash on you. Then, you will no longer be able to make impulse decisions based on a need to bet.
There is a lot to be said about setting boundaries and avoiding temptation when dealing with problem gamblers. Oftentimes, these behaviors are the result of manipulation, pleading and threats. Thankfully, there are effective treatment options available, including medication and therapy. Problem gamblers may benefit from the services of a therapist or a certified gambling counselor. It is important to remember that gambling addiction is a serious issue that affects the family and your finances.
Problem gamblers in Alberta
The number of problem gamblers in Alberta is relatively low – close to five per cent, according to studies from the late 1990s. The reason is simple: gaming revenue in Alberta is high enough to support treatment. But this growth in gambling is not reflected in an increase in the number of problem gamblers. Rather, it’s the small minority of problem gamblers that is driving the decline in the problem gambling rate.
Ways to recognize a problem gambler
There are many signs to look for when determining whether or not a person is a problem gambler. For example, if a person is consistently putting large sums back into machines, telling family and friends that they are not there, or asking for loans, it is likely that he or she is a problem gambler. Identifying a problem gambler can help you identify the person’s behavior and intervene.
Symptoms of a problem gambler
Some symptoms of a problem gambler can be subtle, which might make the person hard to detect. The person may lie about their gambling behavior or may steal items for cash. Such actions are not logical, and suggest a need for immediate intervention. Problem gamblers may also engage in unethical behavior, such as lying about where they are and who they’re with. It’s crucial to get the person help if you suspect this is the case.
There are several types of treatment options for gambling addiction, including psychotherapy, medications, and mutual help groups. Psychotherapy is effective in combating compulsive behavior, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) addresses irrational beliefs. Medications such as naltrexone or opioid antagonists reduce the body’s production of dopamine. While these treatments are costly, they are beneficial for individuals who have lost control of their lives.