What is Gambling Addiction?
Gambling is an activity in which a person bets something of value on an event that is determined at least partly by chance. The gambler hopes to win and gain something of value, but the loss of money or property is also possible. In some cases, gambling can lead to addiction.
The most common form of gambling is placing a bet on the outcome of an event, such as a football match or a scratchcard. The gambler chooses which event to bet on, and this choice is matched against the odds, or probabilities of winning, set by the betting company. These odds are often not readily apparent to the gambler.
Gambling has a long history and is an important source of income for some countries. However, it is also a source of serious harm for many individuals and communities. Harms are not only financial; they can also include physical and social harm, and can have a profound impact on families, work and health. It is important to recognise and address these harms.
A problem with gambling can be difficult to recognize, and it is even more challenging to admit when it has become a problem. Those with a problem may lie to family, friends or colleagues about how much they gamble, and hide evidence of their gambling. They might also try to control their gambling by using a variety of strategies, including self-control techniques such as setting money and time limits.
Symptoms of gambling problems include compulsive gambling, risk-taking behavior, and an inability to control impulses. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek help. A therapist can help you learn to identify and respond to urges, stop unhealthy gambling behaviors, and solve financial, work, and relationships problems caused by problem gambling. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for gambling addiction is an effective treatment that can teach you how to combat unhealthy thoughts and beliefs about gambling and develop healthy coping skills.
In the past, the psychiatric community viewed pathological gambling as more of a compulsion than an addiction. However, in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the APA placed pathological gambling in the category of impulse-control disorders along with other behaviors like kleptomania and trichotillomania (hair-pulling).
If you are struggling with a gambling problem, it is important to seek help. There are a number of ways to get help, including psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and support groups. Support groups can help you find new coping skills and connect with others who are struggling with the same issues. Various organizations offer helplines, online chats, and face-to-face meetings. Some support groups are modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous, while others are specifically for people with gambling problems. A therapist can help you find the right support group for you. They can also discuss any underlying mental health conditions that might be contributing to your problem gambling. These might include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or OCD.