What is Problem Gambling?
Gambling disorder, problem gambling, or gambling addiction is a mental health problem where a gambler can’t control their gambling behavior despite it having a negative impact in their lives.
Problem gamblers tend to have an uncontrollable urge to gamble the same way a drug addict craves for drugs. Like most forms of addictions, gambling addicts are likely to hide their behavior by lying to family members and friends who may be directly or indirectly affected by their behavior.
Gambling addiction can at times go to extreme levels leading to depression and suicide. People with gambling addiction are likely to have poor physical and social health. Gambling addicts are likely to have low self-esteem, perform poorly at work or at school and have strained relationships with family members. Most gambling addicts are likely to end up in a divorce or losing their jobs or both.
Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz identifies four stages towards gambling addiction recovery. With the help of an addiction professional, you can go through these stages successfully and gain control over your gambling addiction behavior.
Stage 1 – Relabel
In this stage, you identify your gambling behavior as a medical condition that needs to be addressed objectively.
State 2 – Reattribute
Here, you stop blaming yourself and try to understand the urge to gamble as an illness with physical cause in the brain. As DR. Jeffrey puts it, “you are separate from the disease of addiction, but not a passive bystander”
Stage 3 – Refocus
When the urge to gamble comes, look for something more positive or constructive to do. Simply put, resist against the urge by occupying yourself with something else.
Step 4 – Revalue
This happens automatically. You start seeing gambling from a different perspective and hence easily controlling your behavior.
Gamhelp Kenya is ready to walk with you through all the stages to gambling addiction recovery. Our treatment approach is holistic and takes into account all underlying factors including co-occuring conditions.