Compulsive Gambling

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Previously the term addiction was only limited to substance and alcohol abuse. However, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual DSM, some behaviors pass the criteria to be labelled addiction. That is, behavioral addiction.

For example, some people could become addicted to gambling, internet, sex, sugar, television and food.

People with a compulsive gambling problem cannot control their urges to place any another bet. They gamble on anything from sport events to whether the USD will rise in value against the GBP.

How I do I tell if I have a compulsive gambling problem?

According to the DSM – 5, individual showing four or more of the following symptoms in a 12- month period is likely to have this addiction;

  • Needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement.
  • Is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling
  • Has made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back , or stop gambling
  • Is often preoccupied with gambling.
  • Often gambles when feeling distressed (e.g. depressed, anxiety, helpless, guilty)
  • After losing money, returns to “chase” one’s losses
  • Lost significant relationship due to gambling
  • Lies to conceal the extent of involvement in gambling
  • Relies on others for money to relieve financial stress

Who is at Risk?

Expert believe that some people have a greater chance to have gambling addiction. They include;

  • Mental health problem. Individual suffering from depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive behavior OCD and ADHD are more likely to develop this addiction.
  • Age; men are more likely than women to develop a compulsive gambling problem. And children who start gambling at an early age are likely to develop this addiction latter in their adult life.
  • History of substance or alcohol abuse
  • Early big win

When to get help

Seek professional help when the addiction escalate. Your psychologist may combine a combination of medication and cognitive behavioral therapy as part of your treatment program to recover. However, overcoming an addiction is not as easy as it sound. It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever try.

And when you start treatments, stay clean, avoid firends who gamble and places where gambling occur. Because relapse is very common in this period.

Thanks for reading.

The Risks of Using Alcohol to Relieve Depression

Man abusing alcohol for relaxing, whisky in glass

“Alcohol is my resort whenever I feel down. It makes me forget all my problems, even if it is for a while. I feel excited, a kind of euphoria.”

“When you tell me alcohol is bad I hit back and respond that it saves me a great deal. It kind of releases me from my responsibilities and actions. And it leaves me feeling good”.

 You often hear depressed people make such comments. Depressed people see every day like just another day. They feel the need to escape from reality. They lack the motivation to do activities they used to enjoy. To them, life is not worth living. But resorting to alcohol is not a good choice.

Alcohol misuse has short and long term adverse effect on the body and social functioning of the user.

In the short term, the person may have problems at work and home, have strained relationships with loved ones, and alcohol related legal issues due to violent behavior.

In the long term, the user may develop dependence and may show withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, headache and diarrhea. Alcohol dependence is a battle of its own and recovery is just the same or more than depression, it could be lifelong.

Nevertheless the person may become vulnerable to diseases like hypertension, cancer, stroke, irreversible damage of the liver and brain, and dementia

Ultimately, the person may be tempted to commit suicide when the pain become unbearable.

You are not alone. You have better options. Alcohol is no panacea.

Compulsive Sexual Behavior

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The number of sexual addicts in our society is only increasing. It’s already a cause for alarm. Adolescents, teenagers, youth and adults are all victims. Children of sexual addicts are four times more likely than other children to become sexual addicts themselves. Other factors include early age abuse, the influence of drug abuse, and other mental health conditions.

The easy access to the internet is key to the rise of this form of addiction. According to one study, internet pornography make up about 15% of the total websites. And about 40% of internet users view porn.

There is a popular belief that only men struggle with compulsive sexual behavior. Women too suffer a great deal, though it often more common in men.

It’s easy to believe that sexual addiction is all about sex, but there’s more to it than that. Sexual addicts shows behaviors such as

  • Compulsive view of pornography
  • Compulsive masturbation with or without pornography
  • Excessive downloading of pornographic materials.
  • Prostitution
  • Child molestation
  • Rape
  • Exhibitionism i.e. the compulsive desire to expose one’s sexual organ in public
  • Compulsive use of cybersex

Case study

I’m Catherine, was once a sexual addict. I was sexually abuse by my dad when I was nine. I never felt better after that unpleasant experience. I felt low esteem and with the little influence, I joined a bad gang in high school. I engaged in all risky behaviors, from binge drinking to attending to strip parties. Sex, too much of it wasn’t my problem. But I had a compulsive desire to watch porn, and whenever I do, I masturbate. I knew it was morally bad. But I couldn’t break free from it. I lost my willpower to quit. My friends intervened I sought treatment and with the appropriate interventions and medications, I’m now OK.


Recognizing the symptoms is the first step to recovery. Seek immediate help if you feel that your sexual behavior is getting out of hands. Sexual addiction get worse with time so the earlier you see a doctor or psychologist, the better.

Compulsive sexual behavior is not a moral weakness and remember not to feel ashamed to get the appropriate treatment.

Thanks for reading.

How to Prevent Caregiver Burnout


Are you a family caregiver?

Do you want to balance your care-giving responsibilities and other commitments? OK no problem.

Care-giving can be highly demanding; physically, mentally and emotionally, especially when the care recipient is totally dependent on you.

As a caregiver, you are under a lot of stress. And if you ignore them, they may become chronic and hurt your health.

Learn how to protect your health;

  • Get help

There a lot of generous people all around you who will welcome the prospect of assisting you with your duties, if only you learn how to ask. Ask for help from other family members, friends, care providers and support groups. It becomes much easier when the strain is shared.

  • Take respite break

Professional caregivers enjoy respite programs. They take breaks from caring to spend quality with family and friends. What about the family caregiver? Do you go on holidays?

It will be healthy to take breaks from care-giving duties even if it’s just a week in two months. Step aside, relax and recharge.

  • Plan ahead.

Finances is usually a big worry for many family carers especially when they are earning less. Eventually, your loved one may need more intensive care, cost of treatments will escalate and you will also have to pay for respite care. A good plan can save you some of the distress.

However, there are a number of financial support packages for carers. Find the one you are eligible to and apply.

  • Adapt

Eventually, you will have to accept this phase of your life. You are now a carer, and shouldn’t always respond to your duties as stressful. Continually responding to your role as stressful increases the level of the stress hormone, cortisol in the body. Cortisol primary fight stress and protect your health. However, if it escalates, it can take a toll on your health.

Burnout is serious and can keep you from being a good caregiver for your loved one.

Cut it down!

Image: canva

4 Mistakes You Make When Caring For Your Parents


Caring for another person is very hard, especially when the person is seriously ill. In care-giving, mistakes from both parties are inevitable. Even, professional caregivers occasionally make blunders.  Some mistakes have long lasting effects, others can be shrugged off. Avoid these,

  • Taking all the burden,

Care-giving is not a solo activity. Many caregivers who ignore this advice show signs of caregiver burnout, become lousy and ineffective. Do not  be afraid to ask for help from family members.

  • Acting authoritatively,

It is important you allow your loved ones to actively take part in decisions making. After all, they are the people going to be affected the most. Ask for their opinions on treatment choices. If they demand for some privacy or request you change their doctor, agree.

  • Negligence

As the primary caregiver of your parents, it is important you acquaint yourself with their conditions. Read all you can on the conditions. The more you learn about their conditions, the easier it will be for you to know how to help them. Most importantly, be willing to collaborate with health professional. You are the voice of your loved ones. Learn how to communicate with their doctor.

  • Make time for yourself

Self-care is critical. While carrying out your care-giving roles, do not forget to take care of yourself too. It’s OK to take time out to rest and recharge, even if it’s just taking a nap. Don’t feel guilty about it.

And, find healthy ways to release the stress. Read a book, practice yoga, exercise, sleep well and eat healthy.

Good luck in your care-giving journey.

Thanks for reading.


Living With Panic Disorder

Panic attack is a sudden, terrifying feeling of fear and intense anxiety. Many people will experience panic attack at some point of their lives as a response to stressful situations.

However, people with panic disorder have the attacks on multiple occasions even without any apparent threat or danger.

Panic attacks come out of the blue making the sufferer avoid places or occasions because they are scared of the next possible attack. The person may feel persistent concern about having another attack, and may also change his or her behavior to accommodate the attack.

If you suspect that you or someone you love may be suffering from panic disorder, see your doctor for a diagnosis since symptoms of panic attack mimic those of heart attack. And, it is important you seek treatment, and the earlier the better.

How do you feel during a panic attack?

  • Pounding heart
  • Nausea
  • Fear of dying
  • Fear of losing control or “going crazy”.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Chest pain
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Feelings of unreality or being detached from yourself.

Are there remedies?

Yes, the good news is that just like any psychological disorders, panic disorder is treatable.

  • Behavior therapy helps the person to face his fears through controlled exposure. If the person is terrified of heights, he is gradually exposed to taking occasional airline trips.
  • Cognitive therapy helps the individual examine his thought patterns and get rid of thoughts that trigger the attack. The person learns how to separate realistic and unrealistic thoughts
  • Relaxation therapy include meditation, deep breathing and guided imagery. It helps you relieve the stress that contributes to anxiety.
  • Medication helps to reduce the symptoms and make you feel better. Most of these medications have side effects, however.

Most people may respond best to a combination of these therapies. It may take time to achieve results, but they are effective to help you live a normal life again.

Thanks for reading!

Resource : Breaking the grip of dangerous emotions authored by Janet Maccaro, PH.d

Insomnia, What is it?

Do you get trouble falling asleep? Do you find it difficult to stay asleep? Do you often wake up in the middle of the night? Do you wake up so early in the morning? If yes, you may be having insomnia.

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that makes it difficult to have a quality night’s sleep.

We have all had bad night at some time of our lives. But people with insomnia have this trouble lingering for a month or longer.

Insomnia leaves you unrefreshed, lethargic and sleepy during daytime.

The clear cause of insomnia is unknown, but factors such as medications, stress, depression, anxiety, illness and chronic pain increase the risk for developing it.

Entertaining anxious thoughts before bedtime may unsettle and keep you half awake at night. And one common side effect of the medications we take is insomnia.


Insomnia is treated with hypontics ( sleeping pills) and sedatives. These drugs include alcohol, the benzodiazepines and barbiturates. But first talk to your doctor or pharmacist before you take these medications.

Because these medications have undesirable side effects. Also, people who use them regularly may develop dependence and withdrawal may prove difficult.

However, people with mild insomnia can learn simple but healthy ways to overcome this discomfort and sleep well. They are;

  • Keep a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at this same time everyday.
  • Avoid taking naps during the day
  • Don’t go to bed hungry
  • Get rid of any anxious thoughts before bedtime
  • Don’t eat too much close to bedtime.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine before bed.
  • Turn off your light and keep your room at a suitable temperature to induce sleep.
  • Get into bed only when you are feeling asleep or tired.
  • Most people have insomnia because of poor sleeping posture. Try to readjust your sleeping position.

Thanks for reading 😃