Gambling is any activity in which you stake something valuable on a random event with the hope of winning something else of value. You can gamble at casinos, racetracks and even on the Internet. In fact, the popularity of online gambling has grown significantly in recent years.
There are several types of therapy that can help people with gambling disorders. One approach is psychodynamic therapy, which focuses on how unconscious processes affect behavior. Another is cognitive-behavioral therapy, which teaches patients to resist unwanted thoughts and habits. It is also possible to treat a person with pathological gambling through family and group therapy.
Some people use gambling to relieve unpleasant feelings or as a way to socialize. Others do so for financial reasons, like trying to win a lottery jackpot or paying off debts. Many people with gambling problems also suffer from mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety. This can make it more difficult to control their gambling.
If you are concerned about a loved one’s addiction to gambling, seek professional help for him or her. Consider family and individual therapy, as well as psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral and group therapy. You can also find support in peer groups, such as Gamblers Anonymous, which follows a 12-step program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. You can also strengthen your support network by making new friends in healthy ways, such as joining a book club or sports team, or finding other activities that are free from the temptation of gambling.