Gambling is a social activity that involves wagering money or something of value on a chance event, such as a game of chance. It can be a fun way to spend time with friends, but it can also be a problem if you start to lose control of your gambling habits and are unable to stop.
Managing your moods and relieving boredom with other activities can help you avoid gambling or cut down on it. If you have a mood disorder, such as depression or anxiety, gambling may make these problems worse.
If you are having trouble controlling your gambling, seek support. Counseling can help you understand why you are gambling and how it is affecting your life. It can also help you think about options for solving problems.
Resolving the underlying mood disorders that trigger your gambling addiction can be crucial to recovering from the problem. Some medications may be able to treat these conditions, and you should discuss any other medication you are taking with your doctor.
A person with gambling problems should seek help from a licensed mental health professional as soon as possible, to get counseling and treatment. These professionals will assess your situation and recommend a plan to treat your gambling problem.
Many people with gambling problems also have other problems such as depression, stress or substance abuse that need to be addressed before you can effectively manage your gambling. This is especially true if you have a family history of mental illness or are currently living with a psychiatric condition such as bipolar or borderline personality disorder.
When you learn to recognize the warning signs of a gambling problem, you can get help before it gets out of control. It’s also important to be open about your gambling problems with family members and friends, as this can help them understand your situation.
You can also join a recovery program such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Gamblers Anonymous to find support and guidance. These programs are based on the 12-step method and will help you stay motivated and focused on your goal of being free from gambling.
The American Psychiatric Association changed the way it treated pathological gambling in the 1980s. At that time, it categorized pathological gambling as an impulse-control disorder. But it now lists it as a mental disorder in the addictions chapter of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5, published in May 2009.
A person can become addicted to gambling in a variety of ways. They may have a genetic predisposition to the disease, or they can develop it through exposure to addictive substances, such as drugs and alcohol. Other factors that can lead to a gambling addiction include psychological trauma or severe depression.
Cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for problem gambling. CBT helps you identify and change irrational beliefs about your chances of winning. For example, if you believe that a string of losses means you’re due for a big win, CBT can help you confront this irrational thought and learn to resist it.