Several perspectives on gambling have led to different definitions of what constitutes gambling behavior. These views range from recreation to impaired judgment and cognitive distortions. Other views include mental illness and moral turpitude. Nonetheless, a common thread of the various classifications is the belief that gambling is a “moral blight.”
Forms of gambling
The prevalence of problem gambling and the forms of gambling are associated with age, gender, and socioeconomic status. Although females are more likely to engage in gambling, males are more likely to gamble through sports, card games, or other forms of gambling. The prevalence of problem gambling is greater among older adults than younger people, and is associated with the prevalence of high-risk behaviors. Although there is no one-size-fits-all formula for gambling, some factors appear to influence risk.
Studies suggest that gambling problems are more common among people who participate in certain types of gambling. In a study of Swedish individuals, half of problem gamblers participated in one or more forms of gambling. These studies suggest that specific forms of gambling may be associated with riskier behavior, whereas others may not. However, it is difficult to determine which form of gambling is responsible for problem gambling in younger persons. Despite their disparity in risk factors, many forms of gambling are socially acceptable.
Characteristics of pathological gamblers
A recent study reveals that the prevalence of pathological gambling in Estonia has sharply increased over the past decade. Several characteristics of pathological gamblers, including disorganization, personality traits, self-esteem, and self-reported emotional states, are associated with higher probability of being afflicted with this condition. Researchers compared these characteristics to a non-gambling control group to see which group best predicted pathological gambling.
A common feature of pathological gamblers is substance use disorders and antisocial personality disorders. Despite the fact that pathological gamblers are a relatively small group, comorbidity with these disorders is probable. Emerging research explores other disorders associated with pathological gambling, with implications for future studies. For the time being, these associations are unclear. Nonetheless, they highlight the need for further study.
If you or a loved one is suffering from compulsive gambling, you may want to explore the various treatment options available. Gambling addiction is a serious condition that can lead to significant financial losses and a life that is out of control. Addicts often talk about their addictions or constantly think about gambling. Thanks to technological advances, gambling is now more accessible than ever, and some websites and apps even let you deposit money directly into your bank account. Therapy is an effective treatment option for gambling addiction and is personalized for the individual.
Behavioral therapy seeks to break learned associations between stimuli and unwanted responses. Exposure therapy aims to reduce gambling-related urges when accompanied by real-world gambling experiences. In contrast, imaginal desensitization involves deliberately inducing gambling-related urges using imagery. This type of therapy provides immediate help with cognitive restructuring by using audiotapes of gambling scenarios. Unfortunately, most studies using behavioral therapy use inadequate designs, which make causal attribution difficult.