Problem gambling is a common social occurrence, which has several implications. Initially, it can be a fun social experience or an occasional novelty, but the more the person spends on it, the more it may be considered a serious problem. Gambling should be limited to a small portion of one’s leisure time and should be considered a form of entertainment. Moreover, the increased level of gambling is stressful for the person concerned, and if the problem is not detected early, it may lead to gambling problems.
Problem gambling has existed for centuries and has evolved a lot over the years. Emil Kraepelin described it as “gambling mania”. The American Psychiatric Association first published the diagnosis of problem gambling in 1980 and based it on Robert Custer’s work. Today, it is based on a more evaluative process. Researchers used survey data from 222 compulsive gamblers and 104 substance-abusing social gamblers to develop symptom criteria.
In a nutshell, problem gambling is the uncontrollable urge to gamble and can affect one’s relationships, finances and even criminal activity. The numbers show that approximately six to eight million people in the United States suffer from this disorder. A person with this disorder may lie about how much time they spend gambling, or they may overestimate the amount of money they spend. Problem gamblers may also spend more time thinking about the next gambling opportunity than with their regular jobs or family.
A comprehensive resource for the prevention of gambling includes two sessions in a small group directed by a psychologist who specializes in addiction. The intervention is designed to raise awareness among students, teachers, parents, and other stakeholders of the consequences of gambling. During the sessions, students participate in lectures, discussions, and activities aimed at educating them on the dangers of gambling. The handout for parents contains an explanation of the program’s objectives and the possible follow-up meetings.
The reviews of interventions to prevent gambling are organized into two groups: universal prevention programs for the general population, and targeted interventions for high-risk individuals. Whole-population prevention strategies include reducing the availability of gambling opportunities and reducing demand. Targeted prevention interventions address the particular problems of high-risk individuals and involve therapeutic, self-help, and pharmacological treatments. Most of the interventions studied in this research were randomized controlled trials.
A primary care physician and a mental health professional can offer help. While you may be tempted to avoid seeking help for your gambling addiction, treatment can help you regain control of your life and a healthy relationship with your family. A physician may recommend a course of treatment such as cognitive behavioral therapy, which focuses on replacing harmful beliefs with healthier ones. A family therapy program may also prove beneficial. If you are concerned that your gambling addiction may be causing you to break up with your significant other, you should consider getting treatment.
MET/CBT combines cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational therapy. Its most popular approach has been shown to be highly effective in treating gambling disorders. However, only about half of its patients attended any of the three CBT sessions, and only two-thirds completed all three. Therefore, it is still difficult to determine which approach to gambling treatment is most effective. However, some studies suggest that a combination of the two types of therapy may help people overcome gambling addiction.
A conviction for gambling will land you up to six months in jail and a fine of $1,000, one of the lowest punishments in the country. But the punishment doesn’t end there. Related charges will often follow, as there is an overlap of crimes in every crime category. For example, if you are convicted of a gambling offense, you’re also likely to face two other crimes in the same case. In such a scenario, you’ll likely have to pay the fine for both crimes and serve at least a year in prison.
Another example of a gambling crime is when someone charges you for a lottery or other gambling game. The lottery is generally a sham and the prizes are not real. The victim is typically told that they won something and is asked to deposit a significant amount of money to pay taxes or facilitate payment processing. Penalties for gambling fraud in California vary depending on the value of the property stolen. But if the person is a professional player, the punishment will be much higher.