Gambling Addiction


Gambling is the act of wagering something of value (usually money) on an event that is based in part on chance. Typically, the stakes are placed on a single outcome of an event, such as a dice roll, a spin of a roulette wheel, or a horse crossing the finish line.

When you gamble, you are betting against the house. The house is the entity that manages the casino or other gambling establishment. They make money by charging a fee for the use of their facilities and by keeping a percentage of each bet.

Problem gambling occurs when you have a compulsive gambling problem that harms your life, including your relationships and family; your financial health; your physical or mental health; your work; or your studies. It can also affect your legal status.

The National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP, offers free resources to assist people with gambling problems and their families. They also provide information on treatment options, such as counseling, therapy, and medication.

In most cases, you do not need a medical diagnosis to seek treatment for gambling addiction. A therapist can help you learn to identify the factors that trigger your gambling behavior and give you tools for overcoming it.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is often effective in helping you stop gambling. This type of therapy teaches you how to recognize your thoughts and feelings that fuel your gambling behaviors. It can also teach you how to fight temptation and solve your finances and relationships issues.

Addiction is a long-term condition that requires ongoing treatment and support. Treatment for addiction usually includes lifestyle changes, therapy, and medication. It may also involve addressing underlying mood disorders, such as depression or anxiety.

The DSM-5 identifies gambling disorder as a behavioral addiction, which is very similar to alcohol and drug addiction. This is based on research that shows that gambling disorders are related to substance-related disorders in clinical expression, brain origin, comorbidity, and physiology.

Those who suffer from problem gambling usually exhibit a number of cognitive and motivational biases that distort their perception of odds and influence their preferences for specific types of bets. These behavioral biases are often exacerbated by negative thoughts about the possibility of losing money, and can lead to self-destructive behavior.

Many people are not aware that their gambling habits can cause them to become addicted. They may be unaware that they are spending more time and money on gambling than they can afford to spend, or that their gambling habits have caused serious harm to other areas of their lives.

A person with a gambling addiction needs to stop gambling before it causes them significant damage. This includes taking steps to limit the amount of money you spend and the frequency with which you gamble.

If you suspect that you or a loved one has a problem with gambling, you should discuss the situation with your doctor. Symptoms of a gambling addiction include repeated or increasing patterns of gambling, irritability and impulsivity when you are not gambling, and the ability to lose control over how much or when you gamble.