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Gambling Disorder – A Comprehensive Guide

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What is Gambling Disorder?

Well, some of you may say life is a gamble between success, failure, happiness, and sadness, which are just  two sides of a coin. From the ancient times, gambling, of course, in moderation is considered a socially acceptable behaviour. However, individuals may fall into the vicious trap of gambling when it manifests in the form of an addiction. Yes, you heard it right. Gambling is a form of addiction much like alcohol or any substance addiction. Some people get a thrill out of such behaviours, and some may feel the compulsion to engage in gambling, which is referred to as compulsive gambling.

Individuals with gambling tendencies may feel the inherent and an uncontrollable urge to buy lottery tickets, visit casinos, play slot machines, bet on sports, or even resort to online platforms meant for gambling. However, the gambling tendency, and frequency may vary from individual to individual.

Let’s look at some of the telltale signs and symptoms of gambling disorder.

What Are The Signs and Symptoms of Gambling Disorder?

Like any other addiction, people with gambling addiction tend to deny their actions, and if needed lie to their spouses, family members, and even friends. They opt for this avoidance technique up to such lengths that they may hesitate to ask for financial support even if they are in utter need of it.

Here are some of the key behaviours exhibited by individuals with gambling disorder.

  • As we have already covered, gambling is an addiction. So, people with gambling tendencies may prefer any form of gambling as if they almost crave the action or get a thrill out of it.
  • Resorting to gambling to feel better about life, or vent out frustrations, or hiding fears regarding impending challenges
  • Like any addiction, the individual may fail to control the urge to gamble, which will further impact his personal, professional, and socioeconomic status
  • While gambling is a socially acceptable behaviour, too much of this is bad. Avoiding work or other crucial commitments to engage in gambling is a sure sign of gambling disorder
  • Diverting the money that was otherwise supposed to be spent for financial commitments for gambling
  • Resorting to selling possessions or stealing money, and on top of that lying about gambling debt are considered some of the hazardous signs and symptoms of gambling disorder

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Treatment Options

Like any other physical, and mental ailment, gambling disorder can also be managed, prevented, and treated. However, it is crucial for the individual to be willing and committed to quitting gambling altogether. He can’t entertain the idea of occasional or casual gambling no matter how much money is involved in the same if he wishes to leave the gambling disorder behind.

Here are some of the key treatment options.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT is highly pivotal in the treatment of gambling disorder. Gambling disorder might have deep roots and may stem from one’s personal insecurities, life circumstances, avoidance techniques, etc. To manage the gambling urge, the root causes have to be targeted. Until and unless the individual is aware of his triggers, corrective or preventive measures can’t be leveraged in a full-fledged manner. CBT aims at helping the person analyze the root causes, and encourage them to steer clear of them. Extensive, one-to-one counselling sessions by well-equipped behavioural therapists are considered highly effective.

Family Therapy – While gambling is done by an individual, its impacts have to be endured by the entire family. So, apart from one-to-one counselling sessions, including the key family members during the counselling can also prove to be beneficial. These sessions work as platforms for retrospection and bridging the gaps in communication between the individual, and his family members, which may lead to better outcomes.

Rehab – Gambling being a potent addiction is quite daunting to overcome. While the individual may employ necessary precautions and avoidance techniques, the chances of falling back to the old habit is high. At times, the situation may worsen so much that getting the treatment at home might not be viable. Here comes the role of outpatient and inpatient rehab facilities. Here, the individuals will be placed in a safe environment and surrounded by a dynamic team of healthcare professionals to extend viable treatment around the clock. Individuals with gambling disorder can also get assistance in terms of lifestyle changes, in inculcating new coping mechanisms, finding out new hobbies to engage in creatively, etc.

Why Cadabams?

At Cadabams, we ensure that individuals get the necessary counselling services to help them gain a better control over the gambling impulses, and learn new coping mechanisms. With more than two decades of experience, our multispecialty team of psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors, physicians work round the clock and are with you every step of the way. We offer world-class evidence-based treatment.

Cadabams is widely trusted by various healthcare experts. It is a comfortable facility where individuals with gambling disorder are treated with attention, love, care, and compassion. We offer an exclusive range of solutions and treatments based on the condition and issues faced by an individual.

Call us on our mental health helpline +91 96111 94949 for further details.

Disclaimer – We strive to treat our patients with dignity and the utmost sensitivity. We understand that gambling is not a sign of weakness. We don’t use any term in a derogatory fashion but to remain relevant to user search trends and common usage. In case you or a loved share a unique viewpoint on how we can improve this content for our readers, please reach out to us at

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Is gambling a mental illness?

It would be more appropriate to say that gambling is a compulsive and repetitive behaviour that may take the form of obsession or addiction. Additionally, extreme cases of gambling, which often indicate the lack of holistic well-being of an individual, may lead to a host of mental ailments such as eating disorders, depression, self-harming, and suicidal tendencies. However, gambling can’t be grouped under the mental illness umbrella yet.

Is gambling disorder hereditary?

Certain studies reinstate the fact that gambling disorder finds close linkage with genetics. Individuals with a family history of gambling are highly prone to resort to the impulses in their adult life. However, there are a host of factors that may potentially lead to gambling urges. Environmental factors, and peer pressure may heighten the risks of gambling disorder. Individuals with a track record of physical, emotional or psychological abuse, broken family relationships may also engage in gambling as a means to vent out their frustration, or as a temporary respite from all the challenges of life.

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