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Sometimes obsessive habits turn into strange but real addictions. To learn how not to let these compulsive disorders get in the way of your life, watch this.
Transcript: You've heard of sex addiction, gambling addictions and alcohol addictions, but there are a few compulsive...
You've heard of sex addiction, gambling addictions and alcohol addictions, but there are a few compulsive disorders you may not have heard of. If a behavior interferes with your life and you can't seem to stop acting on your obsession, no matter how negative the consequences, you could have an addiction. Consider these unusual, but no less real, addictions: You've heard of sun worshippers, but some people take it to the extreme. We call them tan-orexics in the tabloids, but some people really do develop a tanning dependency. Spending time soaking up UV rays from the sun or tanning beds produces endorphins - feel-good chemicals that can give us a sense of euphoria. People may even exhibit withdrawal symptoms like nausea and dizziness when they try to quit their sun habit. Plus, people who are addicted to tanning can't stand to see their skin go pale. It makes them feel less attractive. The solution to that part, at least, can be tackled with self-tanners. Some people can't stop using nasal spray. After a few days of use, your nose no longer responds to the medication as well, and you need more of it clear your stuffy nose. When you stop using it, your nose can become congested again, so you use more and more of it, until you can no longer stop. An addiction to reading might seem like a healthy thing, especially with literacy rates so low but people stuck on books lose sleep and even stop going to work. Can't stop chomping on ice cubes, popsicles or even dirt? A disorder called Pica could be to blame. People often develop this unusual fascination for eating odd things because of an iron or mineral deficiency. Those "Crackberry" addictions, believe it or not, are real. How do you know if you have a bona fide problem with putting down your phone? Ask yourself the following questions: can you leave it at home? Does it get in the way of relationships? Are you sneaking behind a loved one's back to check it? Experts say that an addiction to your phone, iPhone or Blackberry or some other smart phone could stem from the desire to feel important or needed. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but what if you are never satisfied with your look? Some people like reality TV star Heidi Montag develop an addiction to plastic surgery. Montag at age 23 has already gone under the knife twice and had 10 procedures done in just one day. The star was quoted by People magazine as saying, "I'm beyond obsessed". These are usually perfectionistic people or those with body dysmorphic disorder. This is a psychological condition where people have a completely distorted perception of how they look. Most addictions can be successfully treated. If you or someone you know is affected by an addiction talk to a mental health professional.More »
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Many people are able to responsibly use alcohol. However, repeated alcohol abuse or a diagnosis of alcoholism can both lead to severe consequences. Here, we'll look at what addiction can mean to your body--from cirrhosis to cancer.
Transcript: Here's a sobering fact: Each year, there are 85,000 alcohol-related deaths, and over 7,000 involve people...
Here's a sobering fact: Each year, there are 85,000 alcohol-related deaths, and over 7,000 involve people who are not yet 21.Consumed in moderation, alcohol can act as a social lubricant. Unfortunately though, for many young people, drinking isn't always done in moderation. You're probably already familiar with some of the more immediate negative effects of drinking. Because alcohol depresses your central nervous system, it will sedate you. Though you may feel excited when drinking, in actuality alcohol is a CNS depressant. This means you'll experience reduced inhibitions, slurred speech, decreased muscle coordination, and impaired judgment. An incident of heavy drinking can result in alcohol poisoning, during which your body can fall into a life-threatening coma; or even in extreme circumstances, death.Alcohol consumption is a factor in nearly 50 percent of American car accidents, which is why many alcohol-related deaths - and injuries - occur in a motor vehicle crash. Over the long-term, continued alcohol consumption can lead to potentially life-threatening liver disorders, like hepatitis, which is an inflammation of the live...or cirrhosis, which is an irreversible and progressive scarring of liver tissue. Drinking can also lead to cancer. It's been directly linked to liver, rectum, breast, colon, throat and mouth cancerAnd if these life-threatening ailments don't give you pause, you should also know that excessive, habitual drinking can lead to permanent erectile dysfunction or loss of fertility for both sexes! Excessive consumption has also been linked to emotional and mental health issues. Studies have shown that heavy drinkers are more likely to be divorced, unemployed, and even suicidal than people who drink in moderation. Still, this doesn't mean you can't have a good time. What it does mean is that you need to smart about when, where, and how much you drink.More »
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Addiction to sex is a problem that is just as real as any other medical condition. Click on this video to learn the truth about sex addiction and ways to treat it.
Transcript: We all know someone who has struggled with addiction. Be it cigarettes, or alcohol, or gambling...But...
We all know someone who has struggled with addiction. Be it cigarettes, or alcohol, or gambling...But not many of us can say we know someone who is addicted to sex. Unless, you count celebrities: Tiger Woods, David Duchovny, and Michael Douglas! Woods, Duchovny and Douglas have all been treated for sex addiction, otherwise known as "compulsive sexual behavior," "nymphomania" or "hypersexuality." Skeptics like to call it an excuse for cheating husbands. But according to the medical community, sexual addiction is a real disease that impacts both men and women. Some statistics estimate that as many as six to eight percent of all Americans are sex addicts. So what exactly is a sex addict? Someone with a sex addiction is obsessed with sexual thoughts, feelings or actions. They have a compulsive need to act on their sexual urges, even if it leads to negative consequences. Sexual thoughts and behaviors dominate their daily life to the point where it squeezes everything else, like work, school or family relationships, out of the picture. Addicts are abnormally preoccupied with sex, and may engage in frequent and compulsive masturbation, porn, cyber sex, phone sex, unsafe sexual activity, multiple partners and extramarital affairs. Like drug abuse, sex for an addict is used as an escape from problems like loneliness, depression, anxiety or stress. As a result, people with sex addictions sometimes derive little pleasure or satisfaction from their sexual activity. They also sometimes fail to form emotional bonds with sexual partners. Sexual addiction can escalate to increasingly risky behaviors. As with other addictions, sufferers develop a tolerance to their activities and look for other ways to satisfy their compulsion. They lose perspective and control of their actions. As their addiction progresses, it could even involve illegal activities, such as prostitution, exposing oneself in public, sexual harassment, voyeurism, stalking, molestation and rape. It is important to note that not all sex addicts are sex offenders and not all sex offenders are sex addicts. According to the Sexual Recovery Institute, 55 percent of incarcerated sex offenders are diagnosable sex addicts. While the disease is progressive, not everyone with a sexual addiction resorts to predatory behaviors. Because of the shame and stigma, the majority of sex addicts do not seek treatment. Many don't even realize they have a problem. Most people with an addiction remain in denial until a significant event forces them to face the issue. This could include getting caught in an extramarital affair, losing one's job or spouse, or being arrested. If you believe you, or someone you care about, could have a sexual addiction, talk to a trusted friend or professional. There are many organizations dedicated to helping sexual addicts, including treatment centers and sex addicts anonymous.More »
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It sounds silly, but you could be addicted to the internet. Would you know the signs if you saw them? Check out this video for more information on internet addiction.
Transcript: Who hasn't spent countless hours surfing the web? From checking email, to updating your Facebook page...
Who hasn't spent countless hours surfing the web? From checking email, to updating your Facebook page or chatting with people through message boards and instant messaging to playing games and shopping. But when does loving the internet become internet addiction? There's almost nothing we can't do from the comfort of our computers now. And for some people, that's the problem. Since the web went mainstream in the 90s, internet use has skyrocketed. We use it in schools, work, at home and even on the go, in our car, at the airport, or at the grocery store. With just about everyone being online at all hours of the day, it's hard to know what's normal and what's excessive. Some reports suggest that five to 10 percent of the population is hooked on the Internet. Though it's not yet recognized as a psychological disorder by the medical community, compulsive internet use is a problem that can interfere with school, work, relationships and daily life. Spending a lot of time on the internet is not inherently bad, of course. You may need it for work, or school research, or for keeping in touch with family and friends who are abroad. But if it is taking over your life and keeping you from interacting with the real world, you could have an addiction. So what are some of the signs of Internet addiction? You feel guilty about your computer use, and neglect family, friends or responsibilities in order to spend time online; When you are not on the computer, you think about it frequently, and try to figure out ways you can get access to the internet; You look for ways to get online from school, work or family events; You feel anxious, irritable or depressed when you can't be on the internet; You lie to family and friends about how much time you're spending online; You try to limit your time on the computer and usually fail. Some people are more susceptible to internet dependence than others. People who are at greater risk for internet addiction include: Those with depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses. People with other addictions, including sex, porn, and gambling addictions. People who are lonely, feel like they have few friends, or can't get out of the house to socialize. If you think you spend too much time on the internet, but aren't sure if you have an addiction, try to cut back on your use. Schedule time with friends and family members. Invite them out for coffee or a walk and leave your iPhone or Blackberry at home. Give yourself set hours where you are allowed to use the internet. Make a list of your must-dos, like responding to emails or paying your bills and get those done first. Set a timer, and make sure you get off when your time is up. If efforts to cut back on your internet use fail, talk to a mental health professional. Chances are, you have an internet addiction that needs medical attention.More »
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Do you have what you affectionately refer to as an alcoholic liver? Or does your body hate the effects of alcohol? Whether you suffer from alcoholism or only enjoy the occasional drink, this video will show you how drinking really effects your body.
Transcript: You savor the first sip-and the multiple sips after-but what does your body think of that alcohol fix?...
You savor the first sip-and the multiple sips after-but what does your body think of that alcohol fix? Your body reacts to alcohol as it would to a poison. In other words, it works as hard to get it out as you work to get it in! First, the liver changes alcohol into acetaldehyde, a highly toxic substance. This then turns into acetate, a harmless substance that is passed out of your body in your urine, and-more minutely-in your breath and sweat. This process is hard work, and it means that your liver can't focus on its other job, which is sending energizing glucose to other areas of your body. That's why you feel tired, weak, and disoriented following a booze binge. And take note: It takes the liver of a 150-pound person two hours to metabolize one beer! The bottom line is that alcohol does a number on your body. So drink smart!More »
Last Modified: 2013-04-17 | Tags »
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Alcohol is a part of many people's lives, but did you know that more than 18 percent of Americans face real problems with it, from binge drinking to alcoholism. Have you crossed the line into alcohol abuse? We may have the answer.
Transcript: Binge drinking is pervasive common among 18 to 21-year-olds... and if you're in college, chances are...
Binge drinking is pervasive common among 18 to 21-year-olds... and if you're in college, chances are that you've done it before. So what does it mean to binge drink, anyway? There is currently no international consensus on how many drinks constitute a 'binge,' but the term is often taken to mean the following: for a man, consuming 5 or more standard drinks, or 4 or more drinks for a woman, in about 1 to 3 hours. However, these numbers vary significantly based on weight and numerous other variables.Binge drinking is prevalent on almost every college campus, and is often incorporated into many college activities, from sporting events to parties and random Tuesday nights.Unfortunately, people who binge drink on a regular basis often suffer negative consequences as a result, like missed classes, poor grades, or trouble with the police. As well, regular binge drinkers are considerably more likely to drive drunk or to have unprotected sex -activities that have some potential consequences of their own. Here is another sobering statistic: each year 1,400 college students die from alcohol poisoning associated with binge drinking. The best defense against the consequences of binge drinking is obvious - don't binge drink. However, many people won't make that choice. If you are among them, you can make your experience safer by alternating your alcoholic drinks with water or sports drinks. This will help slow the rate at which you absorb the alcohol into your blood stream. And eating something with a bit of fat before you start drinking-like a grilled cheese or a slice of pizza-will help you metabolize alcohol at a slower, more controlled rate. You can also reduce the chances of unintended consequences by making sure that someone in your group remains sober enough to keep track of everyone else. Bottom line? 70-percent of college students admit to binge drinking at least once a week. If you're among them, take steps to be as safe as possible about your actions!More »
Last Modified: 2013-03-13 | Tags »
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Exercise addiction can be defined as an obsession with fitness. Believe it or not, excessive exercise can be harmful. Watch this video to find out more.
Transcript: Exercise is a good thing, right? Well, most of the time but like the old adage says, you CAN get too...
Exercise is a good thing, right? Well, most of the time but like the old adage says, you CAN get too much of a good thing! According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, most adults should exercise about thirty minutes daily. For children, that number doubles, to about sixty minutes of physical activity each day. But for some people-most often females between ages 12 and 19 the recommended amount of exercise is never enough. Hypergymnasia is a condition characterized by a person's compulsive desire to exercise well beyond what is considered normal and healthy. A person with this condition typically has a skewed body image and tries to achieve an impossible goal by exercising in a rigorous manner. Often, hypergymnasia is coupled with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. Also called "obligatory exercise" and "anorexia athletica," this condition causes sufferers to lose all enjoyment of exercise. Instead, physical activity becomes an obligation that is not to be shirked, even in the face of sickness or injury. If a person with hypergymnasia misses even ONE workout, she is bombarded with feelings of guilt and anxiety. Often, individuals with the condition will abandon social, work, and school commitments in order to exercise. Physical activity becomes SO important, in fact, that sufferers define self-worth and success in terms of performance. It's not uncommon for compulsive exercisers to also struggle with very poor body image. In addition, excessive exercise can damage muscles, bones, and joints, and when these minor injuries aren't permitted time to heal, long-term damage can result. Even more disturbing, too much activity places stress on the heart, particularly when an eating disorder is ALSO present. In extreme cases, this can lead to cardiac arrest. Females are PARTICULARLY at risk for physical problems, as anorexia athletica can disrupt the hormone levels in their bodies. This can lead to premature bone loss as well as the cessation of their menstrual periods. While this is upsetting, people with hypergymnasia CAN and DO improve with treatment. Psychotherapy can help patients establish a healthier relationship with both exercise AND eating. In fact, an estimated 80-percent of those treated for anorexia athletica experience vast improvements or complete recoveries. If you, or someone you love, show signs of hypergymnasia, don't stay silent! Make an appointment with a mental health professional immediately!More »
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So, someone you care about is drinking too much and you want to have an intervention. While interventions can work, a person who abuses alcohol must be willing to stop drinking. Here are tips for convincing your friend that its time to quit drinking.
Transcript: You've probably seen an intervention in a film or television show. In real life, an intervention is...
You've probably seen an intervention in a film or television show. In real life, an intervention is a big step, and not one to be taken lightly. If someone you care about has a serious problem with drinking or drugs, you may feel that the only way to help is to stage an intervention. An intervention is when an addict's friends and family get together to confront a loved one about the seriousness of his or her addiction; while also communicating how much he or she means to them. The hoped-for outcome is that the addict will recognize the reality of his situation and get treatment. Some of these meetings end with acknowledgment of the problem by the addict. But, unfortunately, interventions can also be met with intense anger, denial, and disbelief. If unsuccessful, an intervention can create a large rift between the addict and family members and friends, possibly leading to problems that were not present before. For this reason, it's vital to go about an intervention with as much knowledge and preparation as possible. For starters, contact a trained professional to help stage an intervention. Try the National Intervention Referral's website as a resource. In the past, interventions were staged by a counselor and loved ones to take the addict completely by surprise. Today, however, many professionals recommend telling the addict in advance that you are speaking with a counselor about his or her problems with addiction. That way, when the intervention does occur, he's less likely to feel ambushed by the talk. Whichever way works best for you, try to pick a time when the person you're planning the intervention for will be sober and in a comfortable environment. Practice the intervention with the counselor, discussing what everyone will say, and rehearsing responses to potential reactions by the addict. An intervention is not the time to seek revenge for past transgressions. Instead confront your loved one as kindly and honestly as possible. Recognize that whether the person you care about gets help or not, you may need counseling after the fact, and that's OK. Ask your intervention counselor to make a recommendation, or contact your college's health center to find someone with whom you can talk.More »
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Over 76 million people worldwide are currently affected by drinking disorders, from alcoholism to binge drinking. If you're worried that you or someone you know is an alcoholic, this video is a good place to start.
Transcript: Last week, two out of every five college students drank to excess. If you were among them, heres how...
Last week, two out of every five college students drank to excess. If you were among them, heres how to tell if you might have a problem with alcohol. Alcohol abuse is a broad term used to describe excessive drinking, including both binge drinking - where a large amount of alcohol is consumed in a short period of time, and the consumption of alcohol on a regular basis. Alcohol abuse is different than alcoholism, which is a dependence on alcohol, although both come with similar red flags. Its important to be aware of the signs of alcohol abuse: so that you can control your own drinking, and so that youll know when its time to get help for yourself or a friend. Perhaps the first sign of alcohol abuse is when someone continues to drink even after theyve had recurring problems as a result of alcohol. These problems can include drunk driving, having unprotected sex with multiple new partners, or missing class on a regular basis. Other early signs of alcohol abuse include: regularly being intoxicated, blacking out, binge drinking, or experiencing drastic personality changes as a result of drinking. When alcohol abuse becomes alcoholism, additional warning signs usually become apparent. One such sign is when someone hides their drinking habit, either by drinking alone, by keeping alcohol in unlikely places, or by withdrawing from their usual activities to drink. People who are alcoholics may also find that their reaction to alcohol changes over time. For instance, they may develop a tolerance to alcohol, needing more and more to feel its effects, or they may feel that they need alcohol to be normal, funny, or happy. At its most extreme, alcoholics may experience tremors, sweating, nausea and other physical symptoms when alcohol is not consumed. If you notice that either you, or someone you know, has two or more of these symptoms, alcohol abuse may be a problem.More »
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Sex addiction is just as damaging and risky as other types of addiction. Seeking sex addiction treatment is crucial for people caught up in this whirlpool. Learn treatment options by watching this video.
Transcript: Sex addiction is a compulsive dependence on shameful, secretive or abusive sexual behavior. So how is...
Sex addiction is a compulsive dependence on shameful, secretive or abusive sexual behavior. So how is this addiction treated? Like drug addicts or alcoholics, sex addicts will try to deny, rationalize or justify their behavior in order to keep engaging in destructive activities. Because they're in denial, sex addicts often won't recognize or admit they have a problem until their life turns completely upside down. Usually it takes a monumental event, losing one's job, getting arrested, contracting a life-threatening STD or getting a divorce to force a sex addict to seek help. Sexual addiction treatment programs use many of the same approaches used in other addiction recovery facilities. The main difference is that sexual addicts do not practice abstinence, the way other addicts avoid engaging what it is they're addicted to. Treatment instead focuses on controlling the addictive behavior and learning how to develop a healthy sexuality. Sometimes people with sexual addictions may choose to attend an inpatient or residential treatment for several weeks. This can help recovering addicts stay away from people, images, or situations that might trigger compulsive sexual behavior. Treatment includes education about their disease, individual counseling, and, sometimes, marital or family counseling. People with sex addictions often have unresolved emotional issues from their past. It takes trust and time to work through these emotions. Talk therapy can help treat emotional disorders, like post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression, which often occur with addiction. According to psychiatrist John Sealy, who treats sex addiction, 80 percent of sex addicts were abused as children. If you, or someone you care about, are coping with sex addiction or unresolved issues from the past, an in patient residential treatment center will allow medical professionals to treat all of your symptoms - which can greatly impact your chances of recovery. Support groups and 12 step recovery programs are also available for people with sexual addictions. Within these programs, members are asked to: admit that they are powerless over their addiction, and that their life has become unmanageable; seek help from a power greater than themselves; do a complete moral inventory and identify their character defects; show humility and strength in weakness; and make amends to those whom they've have harmed. Addicts work on each step with a sponsor and regularly attend Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings. The healing process can take time, both for the sex addict and those affected by the addict's behavior, but only by committing to get better, can the opportunity to build a future full of meaningful, loving relationships be realized.More »
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Painkiller dependency and addiction are not not quite the same things. Watch this video to learn more about the difference.
Transcript: Many prescription painkillers can be addictive, especially those that belong to the opioid family, like...
Many prescription painkillers can be addictive, especially those that belong to the opioid family, like codeine, morphine, oxycontin, demerol and vicodin. While useful as pain medication, these drugs have also come to be recreationally used and abused. Understandably, many patients who take prescription painkillers worry about their risk of addiction. If one has to be on a pain medication prescription for an extended period of time, like a few months or years, he or she may notice a development of tolerance to the drug. But tolerance is not the same thing as addiction. When one is exposed to substances like prescription painkillers on a regular basis, your body adjusts to them. The liver learns how to process the medication more efficiently. And the brain requires a greater amount of the drug in order to achieve the same pain-relieving results. But just because one needs a higher dose of pain medication does not mean that one is addicted. Having said that, some people are at a greater risk of addiction and medication abuse. That includes: people who have a history of substance abuse; people who have family members with addiction problems; and people with a history of mental illness. You should let your doctor know immediately if you fall into one of these high-risk groups. He or she may try to find a less-addicting alternative medication that works for you. Patients who take opioids for long periods of time will likely develop a tolerance to the drug, and may even develop a physical dependence. What that means is, your body is used to getting a certain amount of drugs, and depends on it for its day-to-day functioning. Abruptly stopping your medication could lead to physical symptoms of withdrawal, like anxiety, insomnia, flu-like symptoms and irritability. While it might sound scary, it's nothing to be alarmed by, so long as you are working with your physician and taking your medication exactly as prescribed. People who take prescribed narcotics are generally under close medical supervision, for good reason. Should you and your doctor decide to discontinue your medication, your physician will help you develop a tapering-off plan, to minimize any uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. If you have developed a tolerance or dependency to your prescription, it is nothing to be ashamed of. Let your doctor know immediately, and don't increase your dosage without consulting your physician. It is extremely important to keep your doctor in the loop on any and all physical or emotional signs of dependence or addiction.More »
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Gambling addiction can be treated with therapy, counseling and support groups. Find out more about this psychological disorder by watching this video.
Transcript: Compulsive gambling is an illness that often gets worse over time. And while it can't be cured, it can...
Compulsive gambling is an illness that often gets worse over time. And while it can't be cured, it can be managed. Unlike drug or alcohol addictions, gambling addiction, or compulsive gambling, is a behavioral addiction called an "impulse-control disorder." In other words, people who have a gambling problem can't control their impulse, or urge, to gamble even when they know that their gambling is hurting themselves or their loved ones. People with gambling problems become more and more preoccupied with gambling until it's all they can think about. They might gamble online at the office when they're supposed to be working; or skip out on work altogether to hit the casino or racetrack. It carries into their home life, and can put a huge wall between them and their loved ones. Compulsive gamblers keep gambling whether they're up or down, broke or flush, happy or depressed. Even when they know the odds are against them, even when they can't afford to lose, people with a gambling addiction can't "stay off the bet." Compulsive gamblers often go after increasingly bigger wins and higher stakes, as that raises the level of the thrill. Sometimes, though, compulsive gamblers, in an attempt to recoup their losses, may gamble until they've spent their last dollar, and then move on to money they don't have money to pay bills, credit cards, or things for their children. Most compulsive gamblers will go into serious debt, and sell off belongings in order to fuel their addiction. But even if a person's gambling hasn't reached that level, or isn't completely out of control, one could still have a gambling problem. If it disrupts a person's life in any way, it's important for that person to seek help before it becomes worse. Gambling addiction like other behavioral addictions, are sometimes referred to as "hidden illnesses." That's because there are no obvious physical signs or symptoms of addiction, like there can be with drugs or other substances. Like substance abusers, compulsive gamblers will go to great lengths to hide their problem; often lying about where they've been or how much money they spent. They may sneak around, avoid loved ones, or stop going to work. They may even steal from other people to help pay off their gambling debts. The first step towards recovery is admitting that there is a problem. This takes a lot of courage, especially if gambling has taken a toll on one's financial and personal life, especially if a person has to own up to debt that jeopardizes their family. While not easy, it is the start on the path to getting better. And by admitting that there is a problem, those who worried about the person suffering from gambling addiction can begin to help. Compulsive gambling may seem like something one can just quit on their own, but it's key to understand that it's not that easy. Gambling addiction is a real disease that requires real intervention and treatment. However, the good news is that recovery is possible. If you think that you, or a loved one, may be struggling with a gambling addiction, seek out a mental health professional for help!More »
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