Gambling refers to any activity where something of value (money, property or personal possessions) is staked on the outcome of a contest or event that relies upon chance or luck for its outcomes. Gambling encompasses activities that rely on skill or knowledge (e.g. playing card games or horse racing), as well as those which do not such as betting on sporting events. Unfortunately some individuals find difficulty controlling their gambling, leading to either negative financial or social repercussions as a result of excessive betting behavior.
People gamble for many reasons, from winning big to socialising or simply an escape from worries and stress. If your gambling is out of control and harming yourself or others, seeking professional assistance as soon as possible is critical if you wish to change this pattern and start living a more fulfilling life.
An individual is considered to have a gambling disorder when their habit negatively impacts multiple aspects of their life and needs professional treatment.
Compulsive gambling is more prevalent among men than women and typically begins in childhood or adolescence. Although it typically manifests during this timeframe, anyone of any age can develop this addiction that can impact all areas of their life including work, relationships and family responsibilities. Furthermore, compulsive gambling has been linked to depression and other mental health conditions.
An influential factor in developing gambling disorders is having close relatives with gambling disorders. This increases both their likelihood of gambling addiction as well as risk for more severe forms of the disorder. Researchers believe the development of such disorders is also affected by temperament and personality characteristics of an individual.
Psychotherapy treatments available to combat gambling disorders include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT helps identify and change unhealthy emotions or thoughts that influence our behaviors; additionally it teaches healthier ways of dealing with boredom or loneliness.
Other forms of psychotherapy that may help treat gambling disorders include psychodynamic therapy, which focuses on unconscious processes and how they influence behavior, as well as group therapy which provides motivation and moral support and allows you to realize you are not alone in your struggle.
Accepting that you have a gambling problem can be challenging, particularly if it has caused financial difficulty or caused strain between family and friends. But it is essential to take action if your gambling is out of control and harming yourself or others; taking that first step toward seeking help may be daunting, but ultimately worth your while; depending on your situation you may even qualify for free support services from organizations specializing in gambling addiction treatment and support.