Dealing With Gambling Addiction

Gambling involves risking something of value (such as money, property or possessions) on an event with an uncertain outcome, like a roll of dice, spin of a roulette wheel or race of horses. It is usually undertaken for fun or to make money, but can also be a way of relieving boredom or socialising with friends. People can be addicted to gambling, and this can cause problems in their lives as well as for family and friends.

The causes of gambling addiction are complex and vary from person to person. However, it is believed that some individuals are predisposed to developing a gambling problem because of a combination of factors. These include a tendency to experience low moods, family history of alcohol or drug misuse, previous stressful life events, the use of gambling as an escape from boredom and the desire to win big. In addition, some types of gambling can be particularly addictive due to the way they trigger feelings of excitement and euphoria in the brain.

A typical gambling event involves making a bet or wager against the house – an entity that stands to lose money if you win – on a game of chance, such as rolling a dice, spinning a roulette wheel or playing card games, such as poker, blackjack and spades. Other examples are betting on sports events such as football matches or horse races with friends, or even placing bets on television programmes like reality shows. People may also gamble by putting money on scratchcards or lottery draws.

When you’re dealing with a problem gambler, you need to understand how they think. Often, they will lie about how much they’re spending and try to hide their activity. They may even attempt to ‘win back’ their losses by borrowing or using credit cards. There are many ways to help someone overcome a gambling addiction, and this can involve getting professional support, joining a support group or finding other activities to occupy their time.

Having a friend or family member with a gambling problem can be very stressful and emotional. You may start to find yourself blaming them for their behaviour, or you might begin to distance yourself. It’s important to remember that there are other, healthier ways to relieve unpleasant emotions, such as exercising, spending time with non-gambling friends and taking up hobbies.

While it’s easy to see that gambling can be dangerous, it isn’t always obvious to those who are not affected by it. That’s why it’s so important for people to know the warning signs of gambling addiction and seek help if they need it.

Treatment for gambling disorder aims to slowly reverse the pathways in the brain that are involved in experiencing reward and excitement. This is done through psychotherapy and counselling, which can help an individual understand their gambling habits and how they affect them and those around them. In some cases, medications can be used to help treat co-occurring disorders such as depression or anxiety.