Gambling Addiction

Gambling is betting something of value, with consciousness of risk and hope of gain, on the outcome of a game, a contest or an uncertain event. It can include games of chance or skill, as well as events that are not a game but have an uncertain result, such as a lottery or political election. It also includes activities that involve a contract (a bet, a wager, a staking of something of value, or an agreement to exchange something) or any equipment or paraphernalia associated with gambling, including:

Problem gambling is defined by a series of behaviors, including:

A person has a desire to gamble and continues to gamble even though it causes them distress or harm. The behavior affects a person’s finances, work, family, or personal relationships. The behavior is out of control and is characterized by repeated unsuccessful attempts to stop.

Some factors that increase the risk of developing a gambling disorder include:

Genetics. Research shows that compulsive gambling tends to run in families. It is more common in men than women and it may start during childhood or adolescence, although it can occur at any age. Trauma and social inequality, particularly in women, can be risk factors.

Behavioral therapy. A type of psychotherapy, a face-to-face treatment with a mental health professional, can help someone overcome unhealthy thoughts and emotions that lead to gambling. Psychotherapy can include cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy and group therapy.

The most effective way to treat gambling addiction is to get help from a trained professional. Inpatient or residential treatment programs are available for those who are unable to control their gambling and need round-the-clock support.

Addiction to gambling can have devastating effects on your life, including financial, marriage and job problems. If you are struggling with a gambling addiction, it is important to seek treatment before the problem gets worse.

There are a number of things that can be done to overcome gambling addiction:

Seek professional help. Getting professional help is the best way to overcome your problem and to avoid relapse. You can start by contacting a gambling counselor or by joining a support group like Gamblers Anonymous. You can also make an appointment to see a mental health professional or a medical doctor.

Learn to recognize the triggers that cause you to gamble. Gambling is often triggered by feelings of boredom or loneliness, and by negative moods. Try to find healthier ways to relieve these feelings, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, and practicing relaxation techniques. Also, don’t chase your losses. This is the mistake of thinking that you are due for a win and can recoup your losses if you continue to play. This is called the “gambling fallacy,” and it can be very dangerous to your financial stability. Lastly, avoid using credit cards, put someone else in charge of your money, and close your online betting accounts. This will help you stay in control of your finances and prevent impulsive gambling decisions.