Dealing With Gambling Addiction


Gambling is a popular pastime that can provide people with an outlet for their emotions and a way to win money. However, for some people, gambling can become an addiction and lead to financial, social and emotional harm. The first step to overcoming a gambling addiction is realizing that there is a problem. This can be a difficult task, especially if you have lost large amounts of money or strained your relationships with family and friends as a result of your gambling addiction.

In the past, the psychiatric community viewed pathological gambling as more of a compulsion than an addiction, but in the 1980s, when it updated its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the American Psychiatric Association officially classified it as impulse-control disorder, a fuzzy category that also includes kleptomania, pyromania and trichotillomania (hair pulling). However, experts have long maintained that the underlying motivation for addictive gambling is a craving for intense pleasure and the need to control one’s environment.

The psychological appeal of gambling stems from the desire to take risks and the uncertainty of winning or losing. In addition, gambling stimulates areas of the brain that are associated with reward and decision-making. As such, it can create a sense of excitement and anticipation similar to that felt when taking drugs. Moreover, gambling can help to relieve stress and anxiety by distracting individuals from their problems and providing them with a temporary escape.

Whether online or in brick-and-mortar casinos, gambling is often conducted by placing bets on the outcome of a random event, with the goal of winning money or other items of value. The monetary prizes range from small amounts to life-changing jackpots. The gambler must choose what to wager on, which is matched to a set of odds – for example, betting on a football team to win a match or buying a scratchcard with a particular prize amount on it.

Many people find comfort in gambling and it can be a fun group activity, with family and friends. Some groups even organize special gambling trips to casinos, which can be a fun way to spend time together. However, it is important to remember that gambling is a form of entertainment and should be enjoyed in moderation and within your means.

Dealing with someone who has a gambling addiction can be challenging for families, but it is essential to seek help and support when needed. If you are struggling with a loved one who is a problem gambler, try to reach out for help and support from family, friends or organisations that offer assistance and counselling. It is also important to set clear boundaries around managing finances and credit, so that you are not enabling the gambling behaviour. Lastly, it is helpful to remember that many other families have had to deal with the same issues, so do not feel alone. If you need help coping with a loved one’s gambling addiction, please don’t hesitate to contact a therapist through Counselling Online – we can match you with a professional therapist in as little as 48 hours.