What Is Gambling Addiction?

Gambling involves risking something of value (money or other possessions) on a random event with the hope of winning a prize. It can be done at brick-and-mortar casinos, at online casinos or in other places where gambling is legal. People gamble for many reasons. Some do it to socialize with friends, while others are motivated by the desire to change their mood and feel a sense of euphoria. Research has shown that gambling is associated with the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that affects the brain’s reward system.

Problem gambling can have a negative impact on health and relationships, can interfere with work or school performance, lead to serious debt and even cause homelessness. It’s important for those who struggle with this condition to seek treatment before the problems become worse.

There are several types of therapy for gambling disorders, including cognitive behavioral therapy and psychodynamic therapy. Family therapy may also be helpful. Counseling can help someone understand their gambling addiction and learn to resist irrational beliefs such as the notion that a streak of losing or a close call is a sign of an imminent win. Some people who have a gambling disorder have co-occurring mental health issues like depression or anxiety, and counseling can help address those as well.

Some people who have a gambling disorder find it hard to admit they have a problem. This can be especially difficult if the person has lost significant amounts of money or strained or broken relationships as a result of their gambling. Admitting there is a problem is the first step toward recovery.

The best way to prevent a gambling addiction is to never play with money you can’t afford to lose. It is also important to tip cocktail waitresses and dealers regularly. In addition, you should avoid drinking too much at a casino, because the alcohol can interfere with your ability to make wise decisions about betting and risk.

Many people who are addicted to gambling need help breaking the habit. A therapist can provide support and teach an individual how to manage their finances, set boundaries and develop other healthy coping mechanisms. There are also medications that can be used to help control symptoms, but it is important to discuss these with a doctor before taking them. BetterHelp is an online therapist service that matches people with licensed, accredited therapists who can help with gambling addiction as well as depression, anxiety, relationships and other issues. Take our assessment and get matched with a therapist in as little as 48 hours. Start working towards a life without gambling today.