Dealing With Gambling Addiction


Gambling is an activity in which you risk something of value (money or other assets) in the hope of winning a prize (or avoiding a loss). You may gamble by purchasing lottery tickets, placing bets on sports events or horse races, playing online casino games or even using pokie machines at a pub. There are many different ways to gamble and it is important to know the risks involved. It’s also important to understand what causes gambling addiction and how you can help someone who is struggling with it.

Despite the fact that it is an enjoyable and exciting pastime, some people are prone to gambling addiction. The cause of this is often rooted in the person’s brain and can be linked to the way they process rewards, control impulses and weigh risk. In addition, certain genetic traits and the environment can play a role in an individual’s propensity to engage in thrill-seeking behaviours such as gambling.

A change has taken place in the understanding of pathological gambling and it is now recognised as a psychological problem. This change is reflected in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association (DSM).

It is essential to note that there are several different approaches to treating gambling problems. Some are more effective than others. However, a common feature of the more successful treatments is that they are based on a comprehensive conceptualization of pathological gambling, which takes into account factors that influence an individual’s vulnerability to develop and sustain problematic gambling behavior. Unfortunately, new hybrid treatments derived from eclectic theoretic conceptualizations of pathological gambling have provided only mixed results in terms of effectiveness.

One of the biggest challenges to dealing with a gambling problem is that it can be hard to recognize when there is a serious issue. This can be especially true if the person’s culture considers gambling to be a normal pastime. For example, if the family has an annual trip to Las Vegas or they enjoy racing or playing poker, it can be difficult to recognise that the gambling is out of control.

Another challenge is that it can be hard to seek treatment for a loved one who has a gambling problem because of the stigma surrounding the disorder. Consequently, they may conceal their gambling activities and lie to their friends and family members.

A good first step to helping a friend or family member overcome gambling addiction is to seek out support from professionals. This can be done by visiting a local support group, contacting a gambling addiction hotline, or enrolling in a recovery program such as Gamblers Anonymous which is modelled after Alcoholics Anonymous. It’s also important to help them find other healthy and productive ways of relieving unpleasant feelings, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or taking up a new hobby. In addition, it’s important to set boundaries in managing money. This could include getting rid of credit cards, having somebody else in charge of the money, putting a block on online betting accounts or closing them altogether.