Gambling involves risking something of value (usually money) on an event involving chance, in the hope of winning something else of value. This includes bets on horse racing, sports events, bingo, slots and machines, games of chance or luck such as dice, roulett, and even lotteries. It does not include bona fide business transactions valid under law, contracts of indemnity or guaranty and life, health or accident insurance.
Gambling is an addictive activity, and can have devastating effects on a person’s physical and emotional wellbeing as well as their family and friends. It is important to recognize a problem before it escalates, and to seek help when necessary.
Counseling can help someone to understand the causes of their gambling addiction, and think through options for change. Therapy can also help them to develop coping strategies, and improve their relationships with family and friends. Depending on the severity of the problem, medication may be helpful too, although it is important to note that there are no FDA-approved medications specifically for pathological gambling disorder.
It takes tremendous strength and courage to admit that you have a gambling problem. If your loved one is struggling, it can be difficult to know what to do. Consider counseling, which can be an invaluable tool for building better relationships and managing finances. Family therapy can be particularly effective in helping the entire family cope with a loved one’s gambling addiction, and is a good way to educate others about the disorder.