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Pathological Gambling and Men

Introduction

Pathological gambling can be defined as the unmanageable desire of gambling irrespective of the interference this kind of behavior may have on the life of a person. It is normally common in individuals whose relationships have been disrupted, those with financial difficulty and the criminal behavior and yet these people are unable to refrain. On the contrary, social gambling does not have this kind of effect on a person and the lack of control. Pathological gambling is very common among men as compared to women. Apart from personality influences, environmental factors like stressors may also cause the pathological gambling. This kind of behavior can have a great impact on the quality of life of the respective family members and may result difficulties in close relationships and affect the physical as well as the mental health of an individual.

Pathological Gambling and Men

Description

Pathological gambling can be described as uncontrollable gambling that is beyond the extent of the normal recreational activity, to the extent that the gambling has a key disruptive impact on a person. A majority of men in the contemporary world consider the weekend as the chance and time to relax and watch sporting activities either on the television or by attending the events.  Some of these men may also choose to drop into a bookmaker or even engage in online betting or on their mobile handsets on their chosen outcomes. However, for a number of men, gambling has become a severe problematic issue, one that is beyond the normal leisure weekend activity and bears a resemblance to a total addiction. According to the British gambling prevalence survey (BGPS), it was discovered that pathological gambling very common among men in the United Kingdom with about 450000 men being categorized as being pathological gamblers. According to the analysis, the typical pathological gambler is a young man. To be specific, according to the National Problem Gambling clinic, the average pathological gambler is a white-collar man (Dhillon & Henrietta 8).

The BGPS outlined playing the lottery as the most common form of gambling, this is followed by scratch cards, then bets on horse racing as well as the use of slot machineries. According to the survey, it was discovered that about 80% of these who took part engaged in gambling activities in person, through visiting the arcade. The rest of the gamblers utilized the online and other offline methods. Pathological gambling is an illustration of a behavioral addiction, which is distinct from the addition to things like foodstuffs, drugs or alcoholic substances. This type of an addiction is a consequence of a series of steps or actions that the affected is frequently involved in. These kinds of behaviors may be aroused by the social nature of the nightclub, race trail or even Bingo lobby by the enthusiasm of taking risks.  What normally keeps the gamblers going is the need to be victorious in any of the games (Dhillon & Henrietta 9). The urge to be victorious a well as the sensation brought forth from being victorious or the lack of being victorious normally keeps a gamble going.

Manifestation

Pathological gambling in men normally starts in teenage years though it may not require professional attention at this time until the man becomes a mature adult. In most cases, the typical pathological gambler is normally a white man between the age brackets of 40 to 50 years and belongs to the middle and upper class socioeconomic groups. The female sex tend to develop the pathological gambling characteristics later I life and its beginning normally appears to coincide with a particular form of stress or major loss. The gambling is usually initiated as a getaway or an emotional retort to an occurrence (Hucker para 6). Studies conducted by some of the Canadian researchers propose that the pathological gamblers have a tendency of being less educated and belong to the low socioeconomic class. It has been noted that the indigenous people experience about 5 times the rate of advanced gambling issues. In addition, it has been noted that, the regions with Casinos and video lottery workstations have a higher percentage of the pathological gambling behavior. There are four well-known stages of pathological gambling behavior, including:

  1. The initial stage of the big win that encourages confidence, sometimes over self-assurance and motivates the continuation of the gambling behavior hoping for further victory. When the victory line fades, the second stage starts on.
  2. The losing stage takes place when the gambler cannot accept the loss anymore and tries winning back the loss employing heavier and more frequent bets. At this stage, the gambler develops superstitious practices such as carrying what he considers as his lucky charm, blowing on the dice in a particular manner and other unusual practices. It is at this stage that the gambler starts covering up the severity of the problem, which has, began interfering with his work and even his personal relationships. A sense of urgency starts developing at this stage and he begins borrowing cash in an attempt to save himself the losses (Hucker para 7).
  3. The extreme anxiety stage starts when the gambler is unable to acquire sufficient funds that the habit requires. The gambler then opts for uncharacteristic and even illegal behavior just to acquire the needed funds, which includes, signing bad cheque and embezzling from the office. Is has been discovered that about three quarters of the pathological gamblers are normally driven to this extent, rationalizing their behaviors so that it may be controllable (Hucker para 7).
  4. The last stage is hopelessness whereby the outcomes of their gambling behavior have gotten into the point that the affected person feels he cannot succeed anymore. Health problems associated with stress and risk of suicide increase drastically at this stage (Hucker para 7)

Causes of Pathological gambling

There are two major biological of this kind of disorder. A number of researchers have discovered interesting disparities between compulsive gamblers and the common population on the biological level, though there is none that has been marked as the main cause of pathological gambling. However, a majority of people have a major psychological cause for uncontrollable gambling. They sometimes employ betting as an emotional get away from despair. This pattern is more frequent in women suffering from the disorder as compared to the affected men. Some individuals who are pathological gamblers normally seek the mood alteration that is linked to gambling, especially excitement and energy that they find in gambling practices, more than the funds used. In simple terms, the individuals suffering from pathological gambling disorder is strengthened by emotional high and not the funds utilized.

According to some researchers, men diagnosed with the disorder are mostly probably to have been diagnosed a disorder known as hyperactivity in their childhood. According to other investigators, habitual gamblers are generally vastly competitive individuals who are impatient and get fed up easily.  Other theoretical explanation concerning the causes of the disorder emphasize on the cognitive deformations other that the mood issues. Pathological gambling is linked to dysfunctional patterns of reflecting on something. A majority of individuals suffering from this kind of disorder are normally highly superstitious or have the belief that they are capable of controlling the outcome of events when they in engage in gambling activities. Many individuals diagnosed with the disorder also have disruptive beliefs about money, with a tending to view it as the same time as the key cause of their misfortunes and the solution to all their problems. Individuals diagnosed with this mental problem have a high chance of either having or developing unrestrained, egotistical or borderline behavioral disorder. One common social change that has been associated with the increase in number of mature men diagnosed with pathological gambling in the U.S. is the increased availability of legalized gambling activities.

Indications

Some of the signs of this kind of disorder consist of obsession with activities that are associated with gambling, usually to the point of disrupting an individual’s job-related and social functioning. The individual is normally incapable of controlling the gambling behavior, and thus continues betting or going to casinos regardless of the attempts to reduce or stop. An ordinary behavior in individuals with this illness is what referred to as Chasing. This implies betting huge sums of cash or taking bigger risks for attempting to undo or make up for the initial losses. An individual could also lie about their gambling activities or get involved in some of the antisocial behaviors like stealing, credit card fraud, checking forgery, embezzling from his boss and other comparable dishonest behaviors for obtaining more cash for gambling.

Impact on the psychological and physical wellbeing

Pathological gambling can also affect a person’s psychological health and welfare. According to research, it has been discovered that there is a regular and direct link between the severities of individuals’ gambling addiction and he measures of negative effects on the individual’s health. According to the Mood Disorder Society of Canada, it was discovered that there is a greater occurrence of mood disorders, which includes dysthymia, severe depressive disorders, cyclothymia as well as bipolar disorders among individuals engaged in gambling activities (Dhillon & Henrietta 10). Pathological gambling is also a cause of poor physical fitness. One major study in the United States found pathological gamblers to be most likely to suffer from cardiac as well as liver problems, after daily life were controlled and healthcare services utilized. Persons with Parkinson’s illness have also been discovered to be at higher risk of developing the gambling addiction, particularly people that take dopamine agonist drugs. Pathological gambling is a critical clinical issue and with its link to poor physical health issues, justifies the attention given by the necessary healthcare providers (Dhillon & Henrietta 11).

Behavior risk factors associated with pathological gambling

Gambling issues as well as the tendency that underlies pathological gambling could be attributed to some elements of a person’s character and to external factors like the current surrounding. Various features may lead to the commencement of the pathological gambling that may disrupt an individual’s life or I more serious cases consume a very huge part of a person’s time and lead to injury to the person in most cases. A number of factors contributing to pathological gambling may include Impulsivity, coping capability as well as vulnerability to depression. An individual’s proneness to drug abuse may also result in pathological gambling. Drug abuse disorders together with pathological gambling are normally co-morbid states, even though neither necessarily is a cause of the other; the two conditions share numerous similarities and they all have underlying causes in incapability of controlling impulsivity (Petry 31). Apart from personality influences, environmental factors like stressors may also lead to the start of pathological gambling concerns. The personality risk factors therefore include:

  • Impulsivity

This is a basic element of a person’s traits and extent of impulsivity could trigger the growth of an impulse control illness including PG or a drug use illness. Assuming that an individual’s traits is generally stable for some time, individuals may find it difficult to manage their gambling problem and other kinds of disorders associated with impulse control, for the reason that an individual’s trait is difficult to transform. If there is sufficient desire management, then a person is not expected to develop the pathological gambling illness. Impulsive men generally have a tendency of developing gambling issues in consequence of their nature and character traits. This is not to articulate that all impetuous men will develop gambling tendencies or issues although they may if the right contributing features are applied at the right moment. The incapability of controlling desires as well as the incapability of delaying fulfillment are two key impulsivity associated indications of the this kind of disorder (McCormick & Taber 368).

            A research by Petry indicated that individuals who where pathological gamblers, had very elevated levels of concession delay returns in a behavioral task. This kind of character trait indicates a high connection between impulsivity and pathological gambling because of the unavailability of holdup of fulfillment. Sequential tasks can also be effective for utilization as catalysts of impulse control illness like pathological gambling in young men (Petry 485).  The level of impulsivity in men and women are significant aspects in the growth of pathological gambling. Men differ from women in the features leading to the commencement of pathological gambling. Men have a greater propensity as compared to women to abuse substances in association with the gabling issues. Employing interruption methods as well as emotional seeking means are examples of the kind of coping. Different from males, women are less probable to utilize coping.  In both men and women, greater levels of impulsivity are considered as increased risk factor for the gambling problem (Petry 381). 

  • Coping strategies

Apart from the levels of impulsivity in pathological gamblers, there are also numerous coping strategies leading to the start of the gambling issues. According to a research by Lightsey and Hulsey, it was discovered that there is a high positive connection between unproductive coping strategies among men suffering from pathological gambling (Lightsey and Hulsey 202). The capability of coping with a variety of conditions is an efficient method may somehow minimize the chances of developing the pathological gambling and stress on the extent of impulsivity.

  • Unfriendly character traits

Individuals suffering from pathological gambling disorder are known to be antisocial which is linked to the impulse control problem that causes the antisocial behavior like the signs depicted in antisocial personality problem.  The causes of pathological gambling in men as well as the causes of antisocial personality disorder are interrelated to hereditary and environmental causes, which includes individual traits like impulsivity (Potenza et al 142).

  • Socioeconomic status

Online gambling is very common among young men. It allows more types of individuals who do not have close by accessibility of casinos and betting track to begin gambling more regularly and contentedly. It is assumed that individuals who belong to the high socioeconomic groups have a high probability of engaging in gambling activities online for the reason that they are more likely capable of affording it, though this assumption has received contrasting support. This is most possibly attributed to the actuality that more well off gamblers are capable of affording to visit the casinos more regularly than the less well off, who would prefer playing online, since online gambling is much more convenient for many men and possibly quite cheap (Potenza et al 143).

  • Family past

A family past history of pathological gambling can also lead to the growth of pathological gambling. Similar to alcohol, genetic can also be a contributing factor. Heritable tendency can work through the attribute of impulsivity to cause the disorder. The more impulsive an individual’s relatives are, the more probable the person would be impulsive, if the relatives happen to have been pathological gamblers, then the level of impulsivity is likely to be greater and this would imply that the tendency of the person to turn out to be a PG  is great (Petry 487).

  • Stress and depression

For men who are low on impulsivity, external factors like stress and depression are some of the contributing factors. Stressors and depressors of various natures can cause or worsen the already present gambling problematic issues as well as other impulse control impairment. Monetary stressors and depressors have a great impact on pathological gambling, particularly for pathological gamblers who has been treated before. Fiscal stressors may inspire them to go back to gambling to raise money to settle their financial issues. The correlation between pathological gambling and depression in young mien is mainly influenced by overlapping hereditary factors (Petry30)

  • The gambler’s fallacy

This also contributes to persistent gambling and sometimes results in the commencement of problem gambling. Gambler’s fallacy can be described as the tendency of distinguishing a succession of self-regulating trials as a persistent sequence or a complete block. For instance, if a succession of coin flips turned heads up a number of times in a single row and one anticipated that the next independent result would differ because of the previous results. Men who accept as true the gambler’s erroneous belief have high chances of enduring betting even if they lack sufficient resources to do so. They identify the independent trials as complete and assume that their luck might change, given the initial results a specific result is more likely since everything is supposed to balance out. This thought most probably contributes to the persistent of the gambling problem (Roney & Lana 69).

Treatment

Until now, there are very few well-designed researches that describe the successful treatment procedures for pathological gambling, though a few of the initial Cognitive Behavioral Therapy procedures have been a success. For some people, 12-step program such as the one known as Gamblers Anonymous may be useful. Medical appointments to the National Problem Gambling Clinic (NPGC) are from numerous sources, which include the nurses, because of their prime position working for the community (Petry 489). The nurses in both primary as well as the secondary care can be helpful when it comes to the identification of some of the men that are struggling with pathological gambling and requires treatment and support. The NPGC offers free evidence based medical care for supporting the men suffering from pathological gambling, assisting them to gain control and be able to stop their gambling habits through offering them treatment in accordance with their needs. Cognitive

Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been discovered to be very useful in minimizing gambling incidence and to produce enhanced rates of abstinence from gambling habits. According to a research that investigated the utilization of the CBT for pathological gambling, it was found that his treatment procedure is very useful in attempting to reduce gambling habits, its severity as well as its psychological distress. Other treatment procedures that have also been found to be useful include; motivational improvement physiotherapies, brief interventions, self-help programmes as well as the Gambler anonymous (Dhillon & Henrietta 11). Pharmacological managements are also useful for pathological gambling, in conjunction with opiate antagonist drugs including naltrexone. These kinds of drugs can help the affected persons to control their gambling habits and urges and offer them more gambling free times as compared with controls (Dhillon & Henrietta 11).

Conclusion

Pathological gambling is more frequent in young men than in women. It can be defined as the unmanageable desire of gambling irrespective of the interference this kind of behavior may have on the life of a person. It is normally common in individuals whose relationships have been disrupted, those with financial difficulty and the criminal behavior and yet these people are unable to refrain. Playing the lottery has been marked as the most common form of gambling; this is followed by scratch cards, and then bets on horse racing as well as the use of slot machineries. Pathological gambling in men normally starts in teenage years though it may not require professional attention at this time until the man becomes a mature adult. The gambling is usually initiated as a getaway or an emotional retort to an occurrence. Studies conducted by some of the Canadian researchers propose that the pathological gamblers have a tendency of being less educated and belong to the low socioeconomic class. Some of the indications of this kind of disorder consist of obsession with activities that are associated with gambling, usually to the point of disrupting an individual’s job-related and social functioning. Pathological gambling can affect a person’s psychological health and welfare. Gambling issues as well as the tendencies that underlies pathological gambling could be attributed to some elements of a person’s character and to external factors like the current surrounding. Apart from personality influences, environmental factors like stressors may also lead to the commencement of pathological gambling issue. The personality risk factors influencing pathological gambling include impulsivity, socioeconomic status, family past, stressors, depressors, and antisocial character.

Work Cited

Dhillon, Jasbir, and Henrietta Bowden‐Jones. “Pathological gambling among men: an overview.” Trends in Urology & Men’s Health 3.6 (2012): 8-12.

Hucker, Stephen. Pathological gambling. (2011). Available at http://www.forensicpsychiatry.ca/impulse/gambling.htm

Petry, Nancy M. “Pathological gamblers, with and without substance abuse disorders, discount delayed rewards at high rates.” Journal of abnormal psychology 110.3 (2001): 482.

McCormick, Richard A., and Julian I. Taber. “Attributional style in pathological gamblers in treatment.” Journal of Abnormal Psychology 97.3 (1988): 368.

Lightsey Jr, Owen Richard, and C. Duncan Hulsey. “Impulsivity, coping, stress, and problem gambling among university students.” Journal of Counseling Psychology 49.2 (2002): 202.

Petry, Nancy M. Pathological gambling: Etiology, comorbidity, and treatment. American Psychological Association, 2005.

Potenza, Marc N., Thomas R. Kosten, and Bruce J. Rounsaville. “Pathological gambling.” Jama 286.2 (2001): 141-144.

 Petry, Nancy M. “Substance abuse, pathological gambling, and impulsiveness.” Drug and alcohol dependence 63.1 (2001): 29-38.

Roney, Christopher JR, and Lana M. Trick. “Grouping and gambling: a Gestalt approach to understanding the gambler’s fallacy.” Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology/Revue canadienne de psychologie expé rimentale 57.2 (2003): 69.