Recognizing the Warning Signs of a Gambling Addiction


Gambling is the wagering of something of value on an event that has a random outcome, where instances of strategy are discounted. It’s a major international commercial activity, with legal gambling turnover exceeding $10 trillion worldwide. It can be conducted with money, items of value, or even collectible game pieces. It is a key source of thrills and excitement, and can be used to meet basic human needs like a sense of belonging or status. It can also be a way to escape boredom or stress.

Gambling addiction is a complex problem with multiple factors contributing to it. Some of these include the size of an early big win, boredom susceptibility, impulsivity, use as an escape coping, and stressful life experiences. It’s important to recognize the warning signs of a gambling addiction, so you can seek help if needed.

While the term “gambling disorder” has only recently been added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), research has long recognized that pathological gambling is an addictive behavior. It shares similar characteristics with substance-related disorders in terms of clinical expression, brain origin, comorbidity and physiology.

People who are addicted to gambling are at risk of losing more than just their money. They may also lose their friends, family and careers. They may start lying to their loved ones or hide evidence of their gambling behaviors. They may also spend more time on their gambling than on their jobs or school work. They may begin to feel a false sense of control and become superstitious. This can lead to an inability to recognize when their gambling is becoming a problem.

There are a variety of treatment options for gambling disorders, including psychotherapy and counseling. Some types of therapy can focus on underlying issues that contribute to the problem. For example, psychodynamic therapy can help a person better understand how their unconscious processes influence their behavior. Counseling can also help a person realize that they have a gambling disorder and consider their options.

The first step to overcoming a gambling addiction is admitting that you have one. This can be a difficult step, especially if you’ve lost a lot of money or have strained or broken relationships as a result of your gambling. However, there are many organizations that offer support and assistance for gambling problems, as well as counseling and help for family members. You can also try online therapy, where you’re matched with a professional, licensed and vetted therapist in as little as 48 hours. This service is free and anonymous, and can provide you with the tools you need to overcome your gambling disorder.