When we start to examine addiction and how it takes its hold on our society, we must be weary not to limit ourselves to the scope of just drugs and alcohol. In fact, recent phycological studies have shown that there are several similarities to chemical dependency and outside issues such as gambling. Understanding how they exhibit similar negative behaviors and damaging consequences, lets us know that we can indeed employ common solutions to help those who suffer from a gambling problem find addiction recovery programs.
Forms of Gambling Addiction
Before we grasp a firm understanding of gambling as an addiction, we have to consider that there are essentially two forms of gambling problems; problem gambling and pathological gambling. Problem gambling is when the desire to gamble is very strong despite past negative consequences. This is also sometimes referred to as “compulsive gambling.” We would view it just as we would view someone who would be within the “problem using” or “problem drinking” stage of their drug or alcohol use, often times called the contemplation stage.
However, people who would fall under the pathological gambling category are dealing with a far more severe problem. Pathological gambling, much like chemical dependency, exhibits every common symptom. These range from finding ways to gamble to giving up social responsibilities or professional obligations to actively gamble.
Unlike substances such as alcohol and drugs, pathological gambling often becomes habit forming quickly. This primarily has to do with the environment, such as casinos. The high intensity and the urgency stressed in the atmosphere makes one more susceptible to addiction.
Pathological gambling is also more insidious than most use of drugs and alcohol, essentially because the behaviors and actions of an intoxicated person are more quickly recognized than someone with a gambling issue. It also makes the loved ones realize that their addict needs help sooner. Usually, it’s not until financial ramifications become present before they realize there is a problem.
Gambling Addiction is a Disease
Gambling addiction is a disease exactly like any other addiction. And just like any other addiction, it’s important for us to realize there is a solution. By examining behaviors and consequences, the gambling addict can be susceptible to a transitions program. However, just like with any other addiction, they have to want to get help. They have to understand their actions are hurting themselves and the ones they love the most. Before they reach that point and commit to getting some help, the healing cannot begin. In turn, they have to realize there are people in their life to encourage them with love and support.
– J. Dalton Williams