Gambling Addiction


Gambling is an activity in which something of value, typically money or possessions, is placed on the outcome of a random event. The goal is to win a prize, and the gambler risks losing the thing placed at stake in order to do so. The practice has a long history and is prevalent throughout the world, with gambling taking place in casinos, online, over the telephone, in lottery tickets or by placing wagers on sports events. Some forms of gambling are not strictly a game of chance, but involve an element of skill, such as the equestrian sport of show jumping. Other forms of gambling include board games such as poker, keno and roulette, and other casino games such as slot machines, fruit machines and video-draw poker. Other forms of gambling may involve materials that have a value other than money, such as marbles and games of pogs or Magic: The Gathering, in which collector’s pieces are used as stakes.

A person who is addicted to gambling can experience a variety of symptoms, including mood changes, loss of control and impaired relationships with family and friends. Symptoms can also interfere with work and social life, and can lead to financial problems such as bankruptcy. People with a gambling disorder are at risk for developing other types of mental health disorders, such as depression and substance abuse.

There are a number of ways to address gambling addiction, including counseling, medication and support groups. Behavioral therapy can help people understand how their behavior is harmful to themselves and others, and teach them techniques for breaking the habit. In addition, medications can treat underlying mood disorders and prevent them from being triggered by or made worse by gambling.

In the United States, the most common symptom of gambling addiction is loss of control. Those with this problem are often unable to stop gambling, even when they are experiencing significant losses. They are also likely to lie about their gambling activities and make promises they cannot keep. In extreme cases, people with a gambling disorder will become isolated from friends and family members.

The most effective way to combat a gambling disorder is to seek professional help. Many treatment options are available, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy and group therapy. In addition, it is important to address any underlying mood disorders that may trigger or be made worse by gambling, such as depression and anxiety. It is also helpful to limit access to credit cards, have someone else manage your finances, close online betting accounts and only carry a small amount of cash when going out. It is also recommended to distract yourself when feeling an urge to gamble, such as by calling a friend or attending a support group for gambling addicts.