Gambling has become a popular past-time for many Americans. It’s easily accessible and more acceptable than ever before, with four out of five people having gambled at some point in their lives. All 50 states offer some form of legalized gambling, and you can gamble from home with a phone or internet connection. Gambling is estimated to be the number one addiction in the United States, and over 20 million people suffer from gambling problems. Here are some things to remember to avoid falling victim to gambling addiction.
Gambling addiction is a disorder characterized by a person’s tendency to engage in the behavior over again until it reaches an uncontrollable level. Gamblers tend to chase after their losses, believing that the next time they win, they will regain the money they lost. The behavior is often relapse-prone, with craving increasing as the individual’s resistance weakens. The increased frequency of the behavior also has a physical and psychological impact.
Responsible gambling involves understanding the odds and knowing when to stop. Most people will engage in some type of gambling at some point in their lives, but a good way to handle the behavior is by being aware of the risks involved, and avoiding situations where you’re not prepared. The key is to find activities that make you feel comfortable with gambling. Once you have found a game that you enjoy, consider putting in some time to learn about the strategy involved.
A good way to help someone overcome their addiction to gambling is to seek counseling. Often, gambling helps people identify and resolve their personal issues. Unfortunately, there is no approved medication to treat gambling disorders, but it can help treat co-occurring conditions. Family and friends can be helpful in the recovery process, but it is ultimately up to the individual to take responsibility for their own recovery. With this support, you can overcome your addiction to gambling and enjoy life again.
In addition to the financial consequences of compulsive gambling, it can affect a person’s mental state as well. The treatment for gambling addiction is similar to that for other addictions. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on changing unhealthy gambling habits and beliefs. During therapy, patients learn new behaviors and strategies for dealing with their problem. They may learn how to manage their financial situation without gambling, or even stop entirely.
The psychiatric community regards pathological gambling as more of an impulse-control disorder than an addiction. Initially, it was categorized as an impulse-control disorder by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in the 1980s. The disorder was moved to a new chapter in the DSM-5 manual, and is now considered an addiction. However, it should not be confused with a personality disorder. Further, it should not be confused with depression and other mental disorders.
There are several different types of gambling addiction. Unlike an addiction, problem gambling does not necessarily require any mental illness to develop. Problem gambling is when a person’s gambling activity begins to interfere with his or her life, such as losing the ability to earn or to manage money. A person who is suffering from gambling addiction has many other emotional and physical problems that can affect other areas of life. Some of these conditions are a symptom of an underlying disease, like substance abuse or unmanaged ADHD.