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 Italy
According to the latest data from the Department of Drug Policy Enforcement subjects treated in 2011 for gambling problems were 4,687, of which 82 % were male. The age group most represented are males aged 35 to 54 years, and females aged 45 to 64 years. The cases already known are 2,331, while new cases are 2,356. It is estimated that, overall, people in treatment are 5/6,000. These are players who show a disorder that consists of frequent and repeated episodes of gambling that dominate life and that lead to compromising of values and social commitments, work, and family. The total amount of costs for the National Health System is estimated at amounting to approximately € 1,000,000.
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.