Gambling Disorders


Gambling involves risking something of value (money or property) on an event involving chance, such as lottery tickets, scratchcards, casino games and sports bets. If the person is correct, they win money or other valuable items; if they are wrong, they lose what was staked. Gambling is a form of entertainment that is enjoyed by many people, and some people develop a problem with gambling.

A person with a gambling disorder is addicted to the act of betting and often has trouble controlling their behavior. These problems cause serious personal, social and family consequences, including bankruptcy, homelessness, criminal activity and strained relationships. Compulsive gambling is often accompanied by other mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety.

There are several types of treatment for gambling disorders, including psychotherapy and medications. Counseling can help people understand their gambling problem and think about how it affects them and others, and can offer motivation and moral support. A variety of counseling approaches are available, including cognitive therapy, family therapy and psychodynamic therapy. Some counselors also offer group therapy, which is helpful for people who have lost touch with their friends as a result of their addiction to gambling. Medications are rarely used to treat gambling disorder, but some may help with co-occurring conditions such as depression or anxiety. In addition to individual or group therapy, some people find support by joining a gambling recovery program like Gamblers Anonymous, which is similar to Alcoholics Anonymous and provides support from peers who have successfully recovered from gambling disorders.

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