Gambling is the act of placing something of value at risk on an event with a random or uncertain outcome, such as a roll of a dice or a spin of the roulette wheel, with the intention of winning money or other prizes. People gamble in many places, including casinos, racetracks and even online. Gambling is not only about the chance of winning, it also involves the use of skill and can be a form of entertainment.
Gamble with money you can afford to lose and stop when you reach your limit. Count gambling as an expense, like going out to dinner or buying clothes, and stick to the budget you create. Avoid chasing your losses as this will usually lead to bigger and bigger losses.
Some people find it hard to recognise a problem with their gambling, and may deny that it has become a serious issue. This is a common symptom of compulsive gambling, and it’s important to seek help before the problem becomes too severe.
In addition to the negative personal consequences, gambling has a significant impact on society. The economic costs associated with gambling are enormous, with losses estimated at 1.4 trillion dollars annually worldwide, and they are greater than those related to alcohol and drug abuse combined. In addition, gambling can cause a range of psychological problems such as anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.
A small percentage of people develop pathological gambling (PG), a condition in which someone experiences recurrent and persistent maladaptive patterns of gambling behaviors. It usually starts in adolescence or young adulthood and gets worse over time. Males are more likely to have PG and tend to start gambling at a younger age than women.
Several types of therapy can be helpful for those with a gambling disorder. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps people change their harmful thinking and behavior patterns. It can teach them to challenge irrational beliefs such as the “gambler’s fallacy” – the false belief that a previous loss makes it more likely that future losses will occur.
Other therapies, such as psychodynamic therapy and family therapy, can also be effective for people with a gambling disorder. They can help to improve strained or broken relationships and to lay the foundations for rebuilding healthy ones.
It takes tremendous strength to admit that you have a gambling problem, especially if you’ve lost a lot of money and ruined relationships along the way. However, there are many people who have overcome gambling addictions and rebuilt their lives. If you’re ready to take the first step, you can begin by finding a therapist through Talkspace. We’ll match you with a professional, licensed, and vetted therapist within 48 hours. Just enter your details below to get started.