Gambling Disorder

What is Gambling Addiction?

Once viewed as an impulse control failure, GA has been reclassified as a mental disease. No matter what gambling has been to a person, how it has arrived and is pursued – as a past-time or a challenge, casually or regularly, self-discovered or inducted, as an early starter or a late-comer, openly or secretly, in solvency or in-debt, family-sensitive or irresponsible - girded by precarious financial condition, its steely grip produces tremendous psychological and emotional pressures and swamps the brain with chemicals. The strain comes from irrational hope, outlandish imagination, unrelenting assorted betting pursuits, rare victories, abject disappointments, foolish denial and a large serving of deceit and oftentimes outright theft.

How is addiction defined?

Historically, addiction was thought as a chemical dependency. Research has brought a redefinition: it is considered the repeated pursuit of a rewarding experience despite enormous downside.

What is classed as gambling?

Anytime, in a game of chance, however small or big, money or possession is staked as a payment to participate against a reward, then it is gambling. Thus, even Church Bingo is gambling. One gives time and energy at a chance to win the available prize. If pursued too intensely and too often, the ‘innocent’ Church Bingo could desensitize people to the dangers of professional gambling. So, it could be called, a gateway gambling!

Is gambling addiction a disease?

Yes, today, Gambling Addiction is classified as a disease by the APA [American Psychiatric Association]. In 1980, it was classified as a compulsion problem. After about 15 years of investigation, chronic, sustained gambling [pathological] was upped to the status of a disease by the APA in DSM-5 [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders].

Is gambling a psychological disorder or a mental health issue?

Yes, Gambling Addiction is a disease of the mind. It is pursued for psychological and emotional reasons but it is also ultimately the source of psychological and emotional discomfort and distress. These get progressively worse as gambling becomes a lifestyle defining, frenetic exercise.

What is pathological gaming?

Induced changes in brain chemistry must precede before gambling can become a regular sport and a source of income over being a mere momentary source of entertainment. So, yes, Gambling Addiction is a pathological disorder.

What causes gambling addiction?

Just as with drugs, gambling not only enhances excitement and pleasure, it rewires the neural circuit. It used to be viewed as an anxiety reliever when it dawned on researchers that it could easily be reduced to an intense, readily available pleasure source. Because of this characteristic some may desire gambling for its own sake. Therein lies the danger of addiction formation. Incredibly, gambling and drug act much the same way. Thus, owing to their survival value, the brain rewards eating and having sex with satisfaction or pleasure through measured serving of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Hard drugs affect the same way, but 10 times as strongly. Thus, just as with hard drugs, tolerance to gambling rises. A gambler is forced to gamble more often with more resources seeking out riskier bets to get the same level of pleasure. Also, with addiction progressing, the brain changes its functionality. There is an area just behind and above the brain called pre-frontal cortex [PFC}. The role of this anatomical section is to pace and pacify impulses. Now, the center of the brain hosting the reward network connects with and controls various response areas such as memory, pleasure, motivation and movement. To reward positive decisions, small amount of dopamine is released, thereby actually encouraging them. But with large amount of drug intake or chronic gambling, so much dopamine is produced that the brain cuts back on production for the same level of stimulation. Then the addict has to increase the stimulation to have the same effect as before. This is a vicious spiraling cycle. As to the PFC, it gets signal from the reward network to even out pleasure seeking behavior. But with addiction setting in, this signal weakens and the blood flow in the PFC slackens. So, PFC’s role becomes diminished. The other problem with dependency is withdrawal symptom. Any sudden and precipitous cutback in gambling (i.e., causing a reduction in dopamine supply) produces withdrawal symptoms (i.e., serious reaction – sleeplessness, shaking, nervousness, etc.) and forcing relapse and returning to the old ways.

How do you treat gambling addiction?

Detox has to be done gradually, of course, so as to avoid withdrawal symptom and possibly failure to reverse course. Medications [e.g., Naltrexone] that wok on reducing drug craving also work in managing craving for pathological gambling. Interestingly, medication that deal with managing impulse control [i.e., kleptomania, pyromania, or trichotillomania] do not work. Medication is combined with behavioral reorientation or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Thus, false beliefs are refuted and replaced with true ones.[i.e., outcomes of every draw is random and is independent of the outcome of prior or subsequent draw.]

How can tptChoice help me stop?

The tptChoice Way is a structured spiritual approach. To begin, a client would be expected to consider the following cost-benefit analysis: that there is temporary, limited upside to gambling – fun and relaxation, but the downside is far more profound, debilitating and lasting. Even for an existential (i.e., ‘objective, logical and near-sighted’) mind this comparison should serve to avert or renounce gambling completely. Upon acknowledging the futility of gambling and the messy, helpless situation it creates, one needs to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel; redemption and rehabilitation with properly paced, sensible behavioral reorientation acting as a tactical action plan and a spiritual reconnection to act as a permanent strategic means of transformation. The latter will also carry positive intergenerational payoff.

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Alcohol Use Disorder

Whether born of fun, situation-bred, or acquaintance-led exposure, and regardless of the age of initiation, alcoholism is an uncontrolled, debilitating chronic disease of the mind. Having become the go-to source of relief and leisure, a financially expensive habit, alcohol casts a pall of gloom over normal life. It affects people variously. In fact, five impact categories have been identified. Regardless, in the worst case scenario [9.2% of alcoholics; 38 years average age;

Drug Use Disorder

Drug Addiction originates in habitually consuming hard drugs [i.e., illegal or controlled substance without prescription]. Entering the body variously [via drinking, smoking and inhaling, snorting, smelling, injecting, inserting, etc.] for the express intention of gaining pure pleasure and relaxation it produces, in the long run it reveals itself to be the Trojan horse it is. It is an induced/acquired mental (i.e., psychological and emotional) and physical disease.

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Gambling Disorder

Once viewed as an impulse control failure, GA has been reclassified as a mental disease. No matter what gambling has been to a person, how it has arrived and is pursued – as a past-time or a challenge, casually or regularly, self-discovered or inducted, as an early starter or a late-comer, openly or secretly, in solvency or in-debt, family-sensitive or irresponsible - girded by precarious financial condition, its steely grip produces tremendous psychological and emotional

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Intimacy Disorder

According to current professional assessment, HSD/IDO/SA is not a disease but an impulse control disorder. It is taking a normal, adult inclination into directions, places, times, people, and processes that are far from normal. Sexual Addiction is very secretively pursued and is quite destructive to one’s social status, health, relationships, legal standing, spiritual and ethical moorings, and sometimes even to one’s income earning capacity and assets

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O God, I realize Your presence having been blind before Failing none, to every supplicant You lend Your blessed ear I am turning to You now even if I cared not to do so before With hope and prayer, inside Your high walls I take refuge Afford me clemency, security, and in all my affairs, reliability! Amen

Below, some punch lines hustle and little poems create Easy and handy, like prayers be, for earthly use To dust off and see each day through royally Good luck, fair weather and Godspeed!

O God, Save me from the excessiveness, indignity and hindrance created by “the piece of flesh between the jaws and the piece of flesh between the legs”! Amen

Religiosity appears winded, narrow to some Just like a river, for one given to compare But the river eventually meets up with the sea Imagine with proper religiosity where one could be!

Who hasn’t seen it, can anyone anywhere deny it A storm as it gathers, as it bears down and batters Yet at the end, it must wither and completely disappear? So, surely as the pesky storm, my future is clear with fair weather!