Gambling Addiction

Compulsive gambling or gambling addiction, like other types of addiction, is a condition that stimulates the reward system in the brain and causes the person to become addicted to gambling. Professional support is required in order to eliminate this situation, which results in great losses both financially and morally.

Gambling addiction symptoms

The main symptoms of gambling addiction are as follows;

  • Obsessive preoccupation with gambling
  • Feeling the need to gamble more and more each time
  • Nervousness and restlessness when not gambling
  • Trying to get back the money lost to gamble more
  • Missing out on life opportunities for gambling, (work, school, personal development, etc.),
  • Using methods such as fraud, theft to earn gambling money.

Gambling addiction risk factors

Risk factors that trigger gambling addiction are as follows;

  • Mental problems: Bipolar disorder, obsessive personality disorder, anxiety, substance use, attention disorder, etc.
  • Age: Gambling addiction is usually seen in young and middle-aged people.
  • Family or friend influence: Presence of gamblers in the family may encourage a person to gamble.
  • Character: Workaholism seen in certain people, having a competitive and ambitious character, indulging in entertainment and luxury can trigger gambling addiction.

Gambling addiction causes

Both biological and social factors are effective in gambling addiction. Death of a parent or loved one, divorce of a couple, life threatening, physical illness, difficulties in human relations, alcohol or substance use, a problem in career or business life, large debt, passion for entertainment and luxury gambling are among the causes of addiction.

Gambling addiction complications

One of the most fundamental problems seen in people with gambling addiction is the problems related to human relations. Complications such as bankruptcy, lying problems, imprisonment, decrease in work performance, suicide attempts or suicidal ideation, psychological problems can be listed among complications.


How gambling affects the brain?

Being the winner in gambling triggers the release of dopamine in the brain. This situation always creates a desire to win and makes gambling obsessive. The individual who wants to reach the same level of pleasure has to gamble more. As the brain gets used to dopamine over time, the feeling of winning turns out from being an enjoyable situation to a habit. Therefore, one always needs to gamble.

Treatment for Gambling Addiction

Gambling addiction is usually treated in three ways. With cognitive or behavioural therapy methods, therapy sessions are organized for the impulse that triggers gambling in the person. In drug treatment, a mood stabilizer and antidepressant-supported treatment process is planned. Antidepressants can be used as an important treatment support in this process. Support groups, which are preferred to try to solve the problem by talking to individuals with gambling problems, also have a positive effect on the process.

There are two types of gambling addiction treatment: outpatient and inpatient.

2-Outpatient Care:

Outpatient gambling addiction treatment is used for those whose gambling habit is gradually developing and who do not have complaints that necessitate hospitalization. Outpatient addiction treatment begins with three meetings per week for one month. Patients can be admitted to the outpatient program right away. Other psychosocial support programs are used in outpatient treatment, in addition to individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, and drug treatments. Families are interviewed as part of the program, and they are also informed and supported. If one month of treatment is insufficient, the program can be extended based on need and demand. Patients who do not complete the outpatient treatment program are permitted to take part in the inpatient treatment program self-recognition and evaluation, self-expression, family relationships, risk analysis, addiction, high-risk situations, coping with the desire and urge to gamble, resisting insistence, coping with anger, and decision making are all topics covered in psychological interviews.

2-Boarding Gambling Addiction Treatment

Inpatient treatment programs are available at Pembe Köşk Psychiatric Hospital for gambling addicts, as well as an intensive psychological rehabilitation program for those who require drug treatment or who have not been successful in outpatient treatment.

During the at least 21-day inpatient treatment program, the patient’s motivation for treatment is provided with drug treatment under the supervision of the specialist, and the patient is subjected to an intensive treatment program on a daily basis. Throughout the treatment, To solve psychological problems, one-on-one psychological interviews are held with the patient in the company of a psychologist, daily medical treatments are carried out in our center by the medical doctor, and the patients are under medical control for 24 hours.

If the patient so desires, he can remain in the treatment facility for an extended period of time and benefit from psychological treatment and rehabilitation programs.

Rehabilitation Plan:

After the first 21-day treatment period, eligible patients are enrolled in the rehabilitation program. Rehabilitation and psychosocial support programs last up to two months, three months, and six months, with a one-month minimum. Patients are generally advised to stay in the treatment center for at least three months which is located in North Cyprus.

Patients in the inpatient treatment program attend daily psychiatric interviews, individual psychological therapy, group therapy, occupational therapy, life skills training, and activities such as walking, sports and spa, yoga, and movie watching. Families are interviewed in addition to all of the treatment and rehabilitation program activities. Throughout the day, each patient has a psychiatric interview, individual and group therapy with three different psychologists, and a psychological evaluation.

All applications are made to the patient under the control of doctors and nurses 24 hours a day.

Are there different types of gambling addiction?

Gambling addiction is divided into professional gambling, antisocial personality gambling, casual social gambling, risky and social gambling, escape gambling, and pathological gambling.

Short-Term and Long-Term effects of a gambling addiction

Gambling, which may seem like a harmless and enjoyable activity in the beginning, can become an unhealthy obsession later on due to the ambition to win. This situation has a negative impact on the person’s business life, financial accumulation and human relations. Addiction can make the person do things he/she never thought of, as well as cause him to find himself in situations he/she has never seen before. The condition, also known as an impulse control disorder, makes it difficult for a person to maintain control. Gambling addiction, which can lead to suicide attempts in the long term, can also cause risky situations such as imprisonment.

Is there a test or Self-Assessment i can do?

There are assessment tests you can do to find out if you are addicted to gambling.

How do I stop my addiction to gambling?

A person who thinks he/she has a gambling addiction and has experiences such as spending threshold that stretches from day to day, the problems he experiences in his social life, and his worsening health condition should seek the support of a professional counsellor.

Why do I gamble until I lose?

Gambling addicts don’t just gamble to win. This situation, which is called compulsive gambling, means that the person’s brain structure changes and is characterized as a behavioural disorder.

Individuals who do not focus on how much they have won or how much they have lost always end up in a position to be triggered by gambling for more.

How can you tell if someone has a gambling problem?

The person always wants to gamble and shapes his/her life according to this urge, experiences deterioration in business life, disconnections in human relations, feels restless and anxious when he/she does not gamble, small or large financial losses, are situations that indicate a gambling problem. Non-gamers are people who can set a limit to the point they want to lose. However, individuals with gambling addiction always feel compelled to play to get their money back. This situation becomes more devastating each time. They can also resort to methods such as fraud and theft to earn the money they lost. Another distinguishing factor is that people who are not addicted to gambling may have periods in their lives when they do not gamble. However, gambling addicts want to gamble every day and they even give up their daily life habits in order to gamble.


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