Dealing With Gambling Addiction

Dealing With Gambling Addiction


Gambling is an activity in which a person bets something of value on an event that is determined primarily by chance. This can include activities like lotteries, casino games, sports betting, or online gambling. Despite the risks, many people enjoy gambling for various reasons. Some may gamble for social reasons, while others do so for the thrill of winning a prize. However, some people have serious problems with gambling and may be addicted to the behavior.

Although a few medications are available to treat problem gambling, most of the treatment options for addiction to gambling revolve around behavioral therapy and cognitive-behavioral techniques. In addition, family and marriage counseling can be helpful for families affected by a loved one’s gambling addiction. There are also a number of self-help books and websites that can help people overcome their problem gambling.

Until recently, the psychiatric community viewed pathological gambling as more of a compulsion than an addiction. But in the 1980s, while updating the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the American Psychiatric Association moved pathological gambling into the category of impulse control disorders, which also includes behaviors like kleptomania, pyromania, and trichotillomania.

While the underlying etiology of pathological gambling is not fully understood, it is known that gambling can lead to serious consequences for an individual’s life. People with a gambling disorder may experience depression and anxiety, have difficulty maintaining employment, and have problems in relationships and personal finances. Some individuals may even attempt suicide as a way to cope with their gambling addiction.

The most important thing that a person who wants to quit gambling must do is to stop. In order to successfully stop, a person must understand their motivations and make a commitment to change. It’s also helpful to seek support from friends and family, attend group meetings, and consider treatment options. In addition, it is important to set money and time limits, avoid chasing losses, and stop gambling once you reach your goal.

There are several ways to deal with a gambling addiction, including group and individual therapy, self-help programs, and medication. Behavioral therapy helps individuals identify and challenge irrational thoughts and beliefs that contribute to gambling addiction. Medications may be used to reduce the effects of mood swings and anxiety that are often associated with gambling addiction.

Regardless of how you choose to address your gambling addiction, it’s important to remember that gambling is not a way to make money. It’s important to budget for it as an entertainment expense and never consider it a way to “get ahead.” In addition, be sure to only gamble with money that you can afford to lose. If you have trouble controlling your spending, try putting a credit card in another family member’s name, making them in charge of managing the family’s financial accounts, and closing any online gaming accounts. It’s also a good idea to get professional financial and marriage counseling to work through any issues that have been caused by the gambling addiction.