Mental Disease: Addiction of Gambling


Mental Disease: Addiction of Gambling – Game is fun but all game is not just fun game, for example, gambling. Gambling is different from other games in terms of levels and methods. Gambling is totally attached with addiction. That is why we always think negative about gambling. Gambling effects human nature and his day to day activities and it starts isolate the person slowly. Deviation from economics, social and other issues starts to begin. When a person becomes fully addicted by gambling, it destroys everything in his life like drug addiction.

Addiction of gambling:
Gambling is a game that is more likely to lean towards addiction than joy or competition. This shows that a gambling addict person prefers gambling than personal, family or social responsibilities. This game makes an impossible and unmanageable demand toward this game. Since gambling is considered negative in the society, a gambling addicted person tries to hide his addiction of gambling from the surrounding people. To hide this and to avoid the social liabilities, an addict cheats in many ways.

Harmful aspects:
Not the economic gain but the excitement of this game usually works as the main catalyst of addiction. It is therefore seen that a gambling addict is mostly thinking about gambling and ready to increase the amount of money. In addition to the addiction, the addicted person becomes financially harmed. Many are also addicted to gambling due to personal problems, helplessness and depression. As a result, his problems become more complicated. Therefore, the addicts try to hide themselves and do many humiliating works like stealing money or other things and that makes them saying lies which become their habit very soon.

  • Addiction is uncontrollable:-
  • When the time and energy continues to waste because of gambling.
  • When there is no change in habit even after hundreds of efforts.
  • When this game affects the work, economic status and social life.
  • When the addict tries to hide the matter from surrounded people.
  • When it needs to steal money or cheat others.
  • When the resources of property decreases gradually.
  • When gambling involves various crimes too.

Many times, the behavior of gambling addicts gradually changes and there is a slight abnormality in daily normal activities.

When the family or the closest people of the addicted person are aware of the person’s addiction and feel anxious about it, they should go to doctor immediately. Usually, in most cases, the addicted person does not take his addiction seriously and he doesn’t even understand the issue wholly. It is important to remember that many people do not understand much about themselves which the close people can understand.

Reason of addiction:
Although there is no acknowledged reason behind addiction to gambling, biological or genetic and environmental effects are said to be behind it. Being influenced by the environment and friends is also taken more seriously. Initially, it is started as a part of the joy but later it gradually becomes an uncontrollable addiction.

Though men and women both have the possibility to be addicted to gambling, men are more likely to be addicted to gambling. Many people may not be addicted to gambling after long time betting.

However, some things increase the probability of addiction to gambling.

For example,

  • The children of addicted parents are more likely to have the addiction to gambling.
  • The possibility of addiction to gambling in men is more and it starts from an early age.
  • There is possibility of addiction to gambling at a comparatively older age among women.
  • Women can easily be addicted to gambling more than men. They usually choose gambling to avoid depression or any other mental problem and later they become addicted.
  • Those who prefer to stay in the competition are more likely to get involved in gambling.
  • There may be possibility of addiction to gambling due to many mental diseases. Such as drug addiction, personality disorder, ADHD, depression, sexual problems etc.
  • Gambling addicted friends and environment increase the chances of the addiction.

Harmful aspects of gambling:
Gambling addiction can have a profound effect on personal, social, family and economic side. The addict does not understand but the losses that he has suffered are:

  • Breaking relations with relatives.
  • Economic issues or taking loans.
  • Legal issues and complexity related to police and jail.
  • Got resigned from job or being small to everyone in the job.
  • Engaging in drug or other crime.
  • Increase the tendency of other mental disorders or suicide.

The way to get rid of addiction:

Prepare yourself:
First of all, review the various harmful aspects of gambling addiction. In most of the cases, the person, involved in gambling, does not want to admit the harmful aspects or they try to avoid deliberately. Take the decision to quit gambling. But the addiction is such a thing that you cannot prevent easily despite of having your wish to prevent. So you should take help from the psychiatrist. But before that, do following tasks:-

  • Write your personal feelings about gambling on a paper.
  • Try to remember when and in which situation the addiction of gambling increases and if possible, write it down as well.
  • Apart from gambling, write down the things which discomfort you.
  • Try to remember how many times you have attempted to leave the game but could not leave it and why you could not leave it and write down too.
  • Write down the impact of gambling on your personal life.
  • If you have any other problems, stress or any big events apart from gambling, analyze it thoroughly.
  • Make a list of any other types of physical diseases, drug addiction and any type of medicines which you have taken.

Treatment and awareness:
First of all, awareness is the important key to get rid of this addiction. The addicted person as well as the other people of the society, both, should be aware of this. Besides, it is necessary to know about the addiction of gambling very well. Especially when a person is fully addicted, harmful aspects of addiction and above all addiction is a mental disease.

Since most of the people do not want to accept gambling as a problem, it is very difficult to treat it. In addition, the addict does not feel the necessity for treatment or he is even reluctant to accept that it is treatable. So, they should be known about the harmful aspects of addiction, its effects, treatment etc. But the addicted person can get rid of the addiction with the problems related to this by having the proper treatment.

The main steps of treatment:

Psychotherapy helps to reduce and control the uncontrolled needs of an addicted person. At the same time, it helps to change negative thoughts to create positive thinking mentality.

If the addicted person is suffering from other psychological problems such as depression, drug addiction, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or personality disorder, he/she should take medicines which will also help to control gambling as well. Useful antidepressants or mood stabilizers are beneficial for any addiction.

Self Help Group:
This is one of specialized group where the addicts of gambling, who wants to get rid of gambling addiction or have already got rid of this addiction, are mainly members of this group. The members of this group discuss problems with each other to find solutions of these problems regarding gambling addiction.

Finally, it is necessary to remember that an addict can be addicted again. Especially when the person goes back to the other addictive people or the environment of such addiction, that person will probably be addicted again. So it is important to take care of this disease even after getting rid of addiction.

Professor Dr. Shalahuddin Qusar Biplob

Professor and Coordinator- Psychiatric Sex Clinic, Dept. of Psychiatry, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University- BSMMU, Dhaka, Bangladesh and Former Mental Skills Consultant, Bangladesh Cricket Board


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