Gambling involves placing a value on something random, such as the outcome of a football match or scratchcard, with the aim of winning something else of value. Gambling is a worldwide activity; estimates show that total legal betting at casinos and other establishments exceeds $10 trillion (though unlicensed betting may exceed this). People’s biological wiring means they seek rewards, so when we win at games or spend time with our friends our bodies release chemicals which make us happy; unfortunately some become so addicted they’re unable to control or quit gambling – in these instances some become addicted that they become incapable of managing or stopping gambling altogether.
Step one in overcoming gambling problems is realizing they exist, followed by seeking treatment options. Many communities offer support groups specifically for gamblers while online resources offer assistance as well. Professional gambling counselors may be helpful as well. Some individuals may need intensive care such as inpatient or residential facilities.
Gambling addiction has a high risk, yet remains poorly understood. There may be multiple potential sources for it including genetic predispositions, personality traits and mental health conditions; and developing gambling as an outlet to deal with difficult emotions such as boredom or depression can be contributing factors as well.
Traditionally, psychiatry has seen pathological gambling as more of an impulse control disorder than an addiction. But last year saw an important decision from the American Psychiatric Association whereby pathological gambling was officially moved into its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This change was driven by research which demonstrated its similarity to other addictive behaviors such as kleptomania, pyromania and trichotillomania (hair pulling).
There are no medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat gambling disorder; however psychotherapy can be an effective means of breaking free of gambling addiction. CBT, family therapy or group therapy may all prove helpful ways of breaking this addiction cycle.
Other strategies for combatting gambling addiction may include finding healthy ways to alleviate unpleasant feelings, such as exercising or spending time with non-gambling friends; practicing relaxation techniques; or attending to any underlying mental health conditions which contribute to it.
Individuals suffering from gambling addiction tend to lack adequate coping mechanisms, leading them down a path with potentially detrimental results in their lives. These consequences include lying to loved ones about gambling activity or even stealing funds in order to fund it; it is also not uncommon for these people to experience financial crises that lead to further issues like debt accumulation. It is essential that they seek help when necessary and there are services that offer advice, support and loans as solutions for them.