How To Recognize And Seek Help For A Gambling Addiction

How To Recognize And Seek Help For A Gambling Addiction

Whether it’s the thrill of betting on a football team to win, or the chance of winning big with a scratchcard, gambling is a popular pastime that involves risk. But, for some people, the habit can become a problem. In fact, according to a recent survey, about two million Americans are addicted to gambling and it’s causing them serious problems in their work and social lives. With gambling more acceptable and accessible than ever, it’s important to know how to recognize and seek help for a gambling addiction.

Gambling involves wagering something of value on a random event with the hope of winning something else of value. It requires three elements: consideration, risk and a prize. The risk is the possibility of losing, while the prize can be anything from money to goods or services. While some people enjoy gambling, others find it extremely addictive. Those with a gambling disorder are unable to control their behavior and spend a great deal of time and money on the activity. It can also cause significant damage to their relationships and finances.

There are a number of warning signs that you may have a gambling problem. These include: a) spending more time and money on gambling than you intended; b) having difficulty cutting down or stopping gambling; c) lying to family members or therapists about how much you gamble; d) making repeated unsuccessful efforts to control or stop gambling; e) gambling while depressed or upset; and f) chasing losses (trying to win back lost funds). It’s important to realize that gambling is not healthy, and that there are healthier ways to relieve boredom and stress, such as exercise, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, and practicing relaxation techniques.

Some studies have found that people with a gambling disorder are more likely to have mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety. In addition, people who gamble often report higher levels of stress and lower quality of life than non-gamblers.

In the past, the psychiatric community viewed pathological gambling as a compulsion, rather than an addiction. But, in a move that has been widely praised, the American Psychiatric Association recently decided to classify pathological gambling in the same category as other impulse control disorders such as kleptomania, pyromania and trichotillomania (hair pulling).

While there are no medications available to treat a gambling disorder, several types of psychotherapy can be effective. These treatments focus on helping a person identify and change unhealthy emotions, thoughts and behaviors. They typically take place with a trained mental health professional, such as a psychologist or clinical social worker. In addition, family therapy and marriage, career and credit counseling can help repair the problems that a gambling addiction creates in your life. It is also important to set limits in managing your bankroll and only gamble with money that you can afford to lose. You should never gamble with money that you need to pay bills or rent. It is also a good idea to limit how long you can gamble, and to leave when you reach your limit, regardless of whether you are winning or losing.