Gambling Addiction

Gambling Addiction

Gambling is the betting or staking of something of value on the outcome of a game, contest or uncertain event with awareness of the risk and in the hope of gain. It varies from the buying of lottery tickets and bets on small events by people who have little to no money, through to sophisticated casino gambling carried out by those with plenty. Whether legal or not, it can cause problems for some people.

Some people who gamble develop a problem. These are referred to as “problem gamblers” or “pathological gamblers.” The severity of the problem can vary from mild, to moderate, to severe. Problem gamblers may not always have an identifiable cause of their gambling, but can be characterized by a series of symptoms including denial, loss of control and escapism.

There are several risk factors that can lead to a gambling addiction, such as a history of family gambling problems, age of onset of gambling, gender, and a genetic tendency towards compulsive behavior. It is important for those who have a gambling problem to realize that there is help and support available. Psychiatrists are trained to recognize and treat gambling addiction. Some treatment options include individual and group therapy, cognitive-behavior therapy, and a combination of medication and psychotherapy.

The first step in getting help for a gambling problem is admitting that there is a problem. This can be a difficult step, especially for those who have already lost significant amounts of money and have strained or even broken relationships as a result of their gambling. It is also helpful to find new hobbies and social outlets that will not involve gambling, such as joining a club or book club, taking an education class, volunteering for a charity, or making new friends through sports teams or other activities.

It is also helpful to set a time limit for gambling, and stick to it, whether you are winning or losing. It is also important to avoid chasing your losses, as the more you try to win back what you have lost, the more likely you are to lose more. Also, be sure to tip your dealers regularly (usually by handing them a chip and clearly saying “This is for me”) and cocktail waitresses (I give each one $1-$5 every time they come around).

Lastly, it is important to make sure that gambling doesn’t interfere with your normal life or take the place of other fun and enjoyable activities. And don’t forget to set aside a separate amount of money for gambling and keep it in an envelope, so you don’t accidentally start using money that you meant for other things. This is especially important when gambling at a casino, where it can be easy to get sucked in by free cocktails and the allure of the slots. Lastly, try to stop gambling when you are feeling down or stressed. The more you are in these states, the more likely you will be to fall prey to addictive behaviors.