Gambling is a form of risky behavior in which individuals bet something of value on a chance event, with the intention of winning something of equal or higher value. It discounts any instances of strategy, but there are three essential elements to gambling: consideration, risk, and prize. Understanding these components is essential for successful gambling.
Problems associated with excessive gambling
The prevalence of gambling and its resulting social and economic consequences are widespread. Gambling has become popular across all socioeconomic classes and a number of countries have implemented comprehensive information and education policies to reduce gambling-related harm. In addition, the availability of a wide variety of gambling games has made it easy for even the poorest citizens to gamble.
The existence of pathological gamblers has been documented as early as 1929. It was not until the late 1980s that researchers realized that gambling could be a disorder in its own right. Initially, excessive gambling was considered a symptom of compulsive disorders. Later, it was placed in the category of non-substance addictive disorders. Consequently, researchers sought to find the common causes and mechanisms for the two types of gambling.
While gambling is considered a non-drug addiction, it shares many of the same neurotransmitters with drugs. Therefore, the risk of developing a dependence on excessive gambling is similar to that for substance addiction.
Treatment options for problem gambling
There are many different treatment options for problem gambling, including family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and medication. Depending on the cause and the severity of the problem, these options can help a person overcome the emotional and physical barriers that contribute to the addictive nature of gambling. The goal of treatment is to help the person replace unhealthy beliefs about gambling with healthy ones. Other treatment options may include exercise, nongambling friends, and relaxation techniques.
Previous research has shown that the overall rate of treatment seeking for problem gambling is low. A large proportion of the general population reported their primary treatment option as a peer support group, with only a small number reporting professional help. However, the proportion of respondents who recommended professional treatment was higher among younger individuals and those with a history of psychological distress.
Ways to avoid becoming addicted to gambling
Many factors can make you vulnerable to developing a gambling addiction. One reason is that the act of gambling is often a way to escape from problems in one’s life, and society generally condones this behavior. Also, the chemical changes that occur in the brain can be similar to those seen in those addicted to alcohol and drugs. If you are suffering from this disorder, it is essential to seek professional help. A gambling addiction treatment program can help you cope with the urges to gamble.
Another effective way to overcome a gambling addiction is to learn to recognize the triggers. For instance, when you have a gambling craving, try to avoid the activity altogether. Try to identify other things to do in this moment. For instance, you can practice deep breathing or call a friend to talk about something else.