Gambling is the wagering of money or something of value on an uncertain outcome. It’s a risky activity that can lead to problems, including gambling addiction and other health issues.
Why You Gamble
Many people gamble to help relieve unpleasant feelings or unwind after a stressful day. It also can be a way to socialize with friends. However, gambling should not take the place of other enjoyable activities or interfere with relationships and work.
Set a time limit for your gambling sessions and stick to it, whether you win or lose. It’s important to set limits so you can prevent escalating behaviors such as chasing your losses or taking on more debt.
Avoid gambling if you’re depressed or in pain, especially if it causes you to miss out on important activities or causes financial problems. Instead, use healthy ways to manage these feelings and find other ways to cope with them.
Treat Your Gambling Problem
Treatment for a problem with gambling includes therapy, medication and lifestyle changes. It can help you stop your behavior, learn new coping skills and overcome the psychological barriers that keep you from overcoming your addiction.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that teaches you how to control your thoughts, behaviors and emotions related to gambling. It can also help you overcome the financial, work and relationship problems associated with your gambling habits.
The American Psychiatric Association has reclassified pathological gambling as an impulse-control disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) fifth edition. The APA’s decision is based on new research in neuroscience, psychology and genetics that shows the similarities between gambling and drug addiction.