Dealing With Gambling Addiction

Gambling involves betting something of value on a random event with the hope of winning a prize. This could be money, goods or services. Many people gamble at casinos or racetracks, but gambling also occurs in other places like gas stations, church halls and sporting events. It can also be done online.

People who have a problem with gambling may experience severe financial problems as a result of their addiction, often leading to bankruptcy and homelessness. They may also suffer from health issues, such as depression and stress. Their relationships and job performance can also be affected by their gambling habits.

A therapist can help people with gambling problems deal with their addiction and regain control of their lives. Therapy can address the underlying mood disorders that may be contributing to their gambling behavior. It can also teach them healthier ways to relieve unpleasant feelings, such as by exercising, spending time with non-gambling friends or practicing relaxation techniques.

The American Psychiatric Association recognizes gambling disorder as a behavioral addiction. It’s the only behavioral addiction in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Gambling disorder is characterized by a lack of control and compulsive urges to gamble, despite negative consequences. It affects both adolescents and adults.

Some people are predisposed to gambling addiction, based on their brain chemistry and family history. For example, those with a genetic predisposition for thrill-seeking behaviors and impulsivity may be at higher risk of developing gambling disorder. There’s also evidence that people who have a family member with an addiction are more likely to develop one themselves.

When you gamble, your brain is flooded with dopamine, a chemical that can induce feelings of pleasure and reward. However, these surges of dopamine can make you want to seek more and more gambling-related rewards. Over time, this can lead to a vicious cycle in which you bet more and more to get the same pleasure.

If you’re struggling with a gambling problem, the first step is to admit you have a problem. This can be difficult, especially if you’ve lost a lot of money and hurt your relationships. But remember that it’s not your fault and that other people have overcome gambling addictions.

It’s important to find a therapist who specializes in gambling addiction. Your therapist will be able to work with you to understand your unique circumstances and goals, and provide you with the tools you need to recover. Find a qualified therapist today. You can be matched with a licensed, vetted therapist in as little as 48 hours. Just answer a few simple questions to begin your journey to recovery. It’s free and confidential. Don’t struggle alone – get the help you need. You can do it!