Compulsive gambling, also called gambling disorder, is the uncontrollable urge to keep gambling despite the toll it takes on your life. Gambling means that you're willing to risk something you value in the hope of getting something of even greater value. Gambling can stimulate the brain's reward system much like drugs such as alcohol can, leading to addiction. If you're prone to compulsive gambling, you may continually chase bets, hide your behavior, deplete savings, accumulate debt, or even resort to theft or fraud to support your addiction.
Disease Statistics in Finland
Only in recent years have gambling problems become a major issue for public debate in Finland. One reason for the increase in activity to address gambling problems is that, after Finland became a member of the European Union in 1995, the Finnish state gambling monopoly and its compatibility with European Union (EU) regulations have been questioned repeatedly. Since 2000, the Finnish government has put significant new resources into the research as well as the prevention and treatment of gambling problems. The resources grew from almost nothing to several million Euros in less than 10 years. This could be seen as an attempt to protect the national gambling monopoly system by showing that the Finnish monopoly system meets EU requirements.
Treatment for compulsive gambling involves three main approaches: Psychotherapy. Psychological treatments, such as behavior therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy, may be beneficial for compulsive gambling. Behavior therapy uses systematic exposure to the behavior you want to unlearn (gambling) and teaches you skills to reduce your urge to gamble. Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on identifying unhealthy, irrational and negative beliefs and replacing them with healthy, positive ones. Medications. Antidepressants and mood stabilizers may help treat problems that often go along with compulsive gambling — such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder or ADHD — but not necessarily compulsive gambling itself. Medications called narcotic antagonists, which have been found useful in treating substance abuse, may help treat compulsive gambling. Self-help groups. Some people find self-help groups, such as Gamblers Anonymous, a helpful part of treatment.