Gambling Addiction

Gambling is the act of putting something of value, such as money or possessions, at risk in the hope of winning something else of greater value. It is an activity that can cause great pleasure and excitement. However, when a person becomes addicted to gambling, it can have serious psychological, financial, family, and professional consequences. Gambling addiction is recognized by the American Psychiatric Association and is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5).

There are many different types of gambling, such as sports betting, horse racing, lottery, and video games. A gambler may also play cards, dice, or other games of chance. Often, people who are prone to gambling develop a dependence on the feel-good, rush-like feeling that they get when they win. These people have trouble stopping their gambling even when it is causing them problems. These problems can include loss of control, compulsive behavior, and even legal issues such as bankruptcy or divorce.

It is thought that the majority of pathological gamblers begin gambling during their adolescent years. It is also believed that traumatic life events can trigger an emotional instability that leads to gambling as a way of escaping from reality. This includes things like losing a job, death of a loved one, or a relationship breakup.

Gambling has a long and rich history in the United States. It has made millionaires of some and caused ruin, criminality, and financial devastation for others. Today, there are strong pro-gambling and anti-gambling forces in the United States. The pro-gambling movement is at its peak, while the anti-gambling forces are growing in strength and numbers.

The biggest step in overcoming a gambling addiction is admitting that there is a problem. Then, the individual must work to overcome his or her addiction by strengthening the support network, finding other ways to spend time, and setting boundaries in managing finances. It is also helpful to seek out peer support groups, such as Gamblers Anonymous, a 12-step program modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous, which can provide guidance and help to those struggling with gambling addiction.

A common symptom of gambling addiction is “loss chasing,” which means that a person keeps gambling in the hope of winning back their losses. This is considered a type of chemical dependency because it affects the reward centers of the brain. Loss chasing can also lead to other addictive behaviors, such as substance abuse and eating disorders. A person who is struggling with gambling addiction should also be on the lookout for signs of depression, anxiety, intestinal disorders, and other physical symptoms. BetterHelp is an online counseling service that can match you with a therapist who specializes in gambling addiction and other issues. Take our free assessment and start the journey to recovery. Start by clicking the button below. We look forward to hearing from you! *All services provided by BetterHelp are 100% confidential.