Gambling Disorders

Gambling involves betting or staking something of value, with consciousness of risk and hope of gain on the outcome of a game, a contest or an uncertain event not under the control or influence of the bettor. The activity excludes bona fide business transactions and contracts of insurance or guaranty; however, it does include the purchase and sale of securities, commodities and other property at an agreed price for future delivery; sports wagering, lottery play, horse racing, etc.

In order to be considered a gambling disorder, the compulsive behavior must have serious consequences and interfere with a person’s ability to function in society. The disorder must cause significant impairment in one or more major areas of a person’s life such as social, occupational and family functions. It may also lead to financial problems and legal difficulties. In addition, a person with a gambling disorder may experience depression, anxiety or other mood disorders that can make the symptoms of the disorder worse.

People with gambling disorders have an impaired ability to stop or limit their losses and to identify and pursue realistic alternative sources of income. They may also have distorted perceptions about the nature of gambling and have difficulty recognizing the symptoms of the disorder. They often have trouble coping with stress and can become more irritable and aggressive as they try to control their gambling.

A person’s ability to stop gambling is related to the way they think about the activity, their level of impulsivity and their coping skills. Other factors that can contribute to gambling disorders include genetic predisposition, boredom susceptibility, a poor understanding of random events, the use of escape coping and stressful life experiences.

Many people who have a problem with gambling can benefit from psychotherapy, which includes a variety of treatment techniques that help a person identify and change unhealthy emotions, thoughts and behaviors. It typically takes place with a mental health professional, such as a counselor or psychologist.

In order to recover from a gambling disorder, it’s important to get support from friends and family members. Some people also find it helpful to join a peer support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is based on a 12-step program. It’s also important to take control of money issues, including getting rid of credit cards and putting someone else in charge of managing them, and to find other things to do with your time. In addition, it’s a good idea to seek help for any underlying mood disorders that can trigger or be made worse by gambling, such as depression, anxiety and substance abuse. This can reduce the risk of relapse and help you regain your life. Medications are not recommended for the treatment of gambling disorders, although some medications can be used to treat co-occurring conditions like depression or anxiety. It’s also important to address any family dynamics that may contribute to the problem, such as family discord and conflict over finances. This can help the individual feel more empowered to stop their gambling and focus on regaining their life.

Gambling Disorders
Scroll to top