Gambling As an Addiction

Gambling is the wagering of something of value on an event that is primarily based on chance in the hope of winning something of value. It has existed in virtually every society since prerecorded history and is incorporated into the local culture, traditions, and rites of passage. It has also been a source of great excitement and entertainment. In some instances, gambling has become an addiction.

The number of pathological gamblers has increased remarkably since 1974. The amount of money wagered in the United States has also increased. Many people have difficulty quitting gambling, even when they have lost large amounts of money and strained or broken family and friendships.

There are several steps a person can take to combat a gambling problem, including seeking help from a counselor. Counseling can help the individual recognize the specific issues and develop a plan to overcome them. Family therapy can help the entire family work through the problems that have arisen, and marriage and career counseling can be helpful in repairing relationships. A therapist can help a person break the vicious cycle of gambling and develop a healthier lifestyle.

One common reason that a person may begin gambling is to relieve stress. It is important for those who suffer from this type of disorder to find alternative methods of stress relief, such as exercise, meditation, and social activities. In addition, it is necessary to find a support group for those who are struggling with this type of addiction. This can be done by reaching out to friends and family, joining a book club, taking an education class, or volunteering in the community.

Another reason why people may gamble is to experience a feeling of euphoria. According to research published in the Journal of International Gambling Studies, this is caused by the release of chemicals in the brain associated with reward systems. This is similar to the feeling of a drug rush, which can occur with certain recreational drugs. In addition, the thrill of making a big win can provide a sense of achievement and confidence that is often gratifying.

In order to avoid gambling problems, it is important for individuals to set limits on the amount of money they bet. It is also important for them to separate their gambling money from other sources of income and to stay away from ATM machines or lines of credit. Finally, they should remember that what goes up must come down; it is not wise to chase losses.

If a person is struggling with a gambling addiction, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. For those who do not have access to professional services, BetterHelp can connect them with licensed therapists who are experts in treating addictions. To start the process of breaking the gambling habit, complete a quick and confidential assessment and get matched with a therapist in just 48 hours.