Gambling Addiction

Gambling is betting on a random event, such as a football match or scratchcard, in the hope of winning something else of value. It is considered to be a form of entertainment because it involves risk-taking, and there are often hints of luck involved. However, it is not a safe way to spend money. It can have many negative effects on people’s health and well-being, including debt, relationship problems, depression and suicide.

In the past, the psychiatric community generally viewed pathological gambling as less of an addiction than a compulsion, and placed it under the heading of impulse control disorders like kleptomania, pyromania and trichotillomania (hair pulling). But this year, the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders changed its classification of problem gambling from a compulsion to an addiction. This shift reflects a greater understanding of the biology behind the condition and has already changed the way psychiatrists treat it.

The most important factor for someone with a gambling problem is to acknowledge that they have one. This takes a lot of courage, especially if they have lost a lot of money or strained their relationships as a result. But once a person realises they have an issue, they can seek help. This can be through a range of services, such as counselling, family therapy and marriage, career and credit counseling. It is also possible to find support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous.

People with gambling problems come from all backgrounds and income levels. They can be men or women, young or old, and any race or religion. Some individuals gamble as a way to be social and make new friends, while others use gambling as an escape from life’s problems and stresses. They can also become addicted to the thrill of the game or the dream of hitting the jackpot.

Keeping track of the amount you spend is a good way to limit your gambling. This will help you to stay within your budget, and it will also keep you from lying to friends and family about how much you are spending. If you have a habit of hiding your gambling, it might be time to talk to a therapist.

It is possible to overcome a gambling addiction. It may take a long time, but it is worth it. The biggest step is admitting that you have a problem, and there are lots of people out there who have done just that. They have rebuilt their lives, and you can too. Start by reaching out to a friend or family member, and consider joining a gambling support group such as Gamblers Anonymous. You can also seek professional help by using an online therapy service, BetterHelp, which will match you with a therapist who specialises in addictions. You can get started with a free assessment and be matched with a therapist in as little as 48 hours. Good luck!