The Importance of Screening Patients For Pathological Gambling


Increasingly, primary care providers are screening patients for addiction to non-drug behaviors. Gambling is one such activity. Its legal status makes it a widely accepted activity, but it can also carry addictive potential. The relative importance of gambling behaviors depends on the health benefits and risks associated with them. This article will discuss the importance of screening patients for pathological gambling, a condition associated with compulsive gambling. It is important to recognize that some individuals exhibit multiple types of problem gambling.

Problem gamblers

Studies have shown that problem gamblers experience an acute state of stress during their gambling sessions. This stress response results in the release of catecholamines and pituitary-adrenal hormones. In addition, problem gamblers have elevated cortisol levels that are similar to those experienced by people who are subjected to acute stressors. Further, problem gamblers’ cortisol levels are elevated for a prolonged period of time.

Types of problem gamblers

In recent years, researchers have begun identifying various characteristics of problem gamblers and isolating three progressive sub-types. A better understanding of these differences will aid the scientific community in developing effective interventions for gambling addiction. Please consider contacting the authors of this article if you have any comments or suggestions about this article. Thanks! This article has been viewed 71 times! Please consider reading it to improve your understanding of problem gambling.

Behaviorally conditioned gamblers: These individuals are highly susceptible to environmental triggers and often struggle to control their urges. Behaviorally conditioned gamblers may benefit from professional counseling to break their compulsions. Biologically-based gamblers are genetically-determined and often require constant stimulation to remain healthy. Fortunately, treatment for both types is available. For many of these gamblers, however, therapy is a better option than medication.

Symptoms of problem gambling

Whether a person is involved in online gaming or has a physical addiction, they all need to know how to identify symptoms of problem gambling. The financial and emotional strain from problem gambling can lead to family and relationship breakdown. Children are often the innocent victims of emotional turmoil. Problem gambling also has negative health effects on the person’s body. Physical symptoms include ulcers, strained relationships, insomnia, and headaches. Additionally, the person may resort to substance abuse to ease the pain caused by the addiction.

Individuals with gambling addiction may commit illegal acts to fund their behavior. They may engage in dishonesty and deception to mask their problem gambling. They may even break the law to obtain money for their gambling addiction and recoup losses. They may endanger important relationships, their job, or a significant opportunity. Problem gamblers may even start lying about their gambling habits to avoid embarrassment. Oftentimes, the person with a gambling problem may even try to cover up their problems by getting financial assistance from friends and family.

Treatment options

If your loved one suffers from a gambling addiction, you may want to consider seeking therapy. While you may be tempted to fight therapy, it can help you regain control of your finances and relationships. Some people find that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is effective in treating gambling addiction. CBT involves challenging unhealthy beliefs and challenging negative behavior. A support group similar to AA or NA may also be beneficial. These groups can help your loved one develop the skills to manage their money and to stop gambling altogether.

In a small study of 147 college students, researchers evaluated Petry’s CBT in a group setting. The intervention significantly reduced gambling behavior and its negative consequences, compared to the control condition. However, the effectiveness of these methods has not been proven. There are some drawbacks to these approaches. Some people may not respond to the methods they receive. The effectiveness of such programs depends on the effectiveness of the treatment. The results are preliminary, and they should not be used to diagnose gambling disorder.