Gambling Addiction


Whether playing scratchcards, roulette, slot machines or betting on football or horse racing, gambling involves risking something of value on an event with some element of randomness or chance. The goal is to win a prize, which can range from a small amount of money to life-changing amounts. It can be played in brick-and-mortar casinos or online, and also can involve speculating on business, insurance or the stock market.

While most gamble responsibly, a few people develop an addiction. Problem gambling can affect people of any age, gender and social background. It is linked to a range of psychological and emotional issues, including depression, stress and anxiety. It can also have an impact on relationships, work and family life.

The reasons behind gambling addiction are complex. Many factors contribute to a person developing an addiction to gambling, including genetic predisposition, the size of an early big win, boredom susceptibility, impulsivity and the use of escape coping. A poor understanding of randomness and a lack of control are also common.

Recognizing you have a problem is the first step in breaking free from gambling. Seek help by calling a helpline, visiting a support group, or seeking treatment such as cognitive behavioral therapy or psychodynamic therapy. You can even get matched with a therapist through BetterHelp, an online service that matches you to accredited, licensed therapists. It takes tremendous strength and courage to admit you have a gambling problem, but it’s well worth it for your health and wellbeing.

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