A person gambles by placing something of value on a random event with the intention of winning something else of value. A person is said to have a gambling disorder when their behavior interferes with their normal functioning. It is a behavioral addiction that can be very hard to overcome.
Although most people who try gambling do not develop a problem, there is a small percentage that does. The problem is called pathological gambling (PG). PG is defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), as persistent and recurrent maladaptive patterns of betting or other forms of gambling that are associated with significant distress or impairment. It is often characterized by denial of the existence of a problem and a pervasive belief that the behavior is under their control. Generally, men tend to develop PG more than women, and it typically starts in adolescence or early adulthood.
The underlying cause of gambling disorder is an imbalance in the brain chemicals that regulate impulse control. This imbalance may be genetic and exacerbated by certain environmental factors such as the presence of an alcoholic parent or other relatives with gambling problems. In many cases, the condition is a symptom of another psychiatric disorder such as depression or anxiety. It is also a common comorbidity with substance use disorders.
A variety of psychotherapies are used to treat gambling disorder, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which is a type of talk therapy that helps people change unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. Other therapies include family and marital therapy, group therapy, and psychodynamic therapy, which examines unconscious processes that influence behavior. There are no FDA-approved medications to treat gambling disorder, but some may help with co-occurring conditions like depression or anxiety.
There are a number of strategies to help someone break the gambling habit, such as finding other activities to fill their time and keeping track of their spending. Getting help from a support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous, is also helpful. There are also professional counselors who can teach coping skills and provide education about the condition. For family members, it is important to educate themselves about the disorder and how it works so they can better understand what their loved one is going through. They should also learn healthy ways to relieve unpleasant feelings, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, and practicing relaxation techniques. They should also avoid acting angry or critical, which can make things worse. These steps can help someone recover from gambling disorder and lead to a more stable home environment. The best way to help a loved one with the condition is to support them in their recovery efforts and encourage them to seek treatment. This will also benefit the entire family. It will allow them to spend time together and work on repairing relationships that have been affected by gambling. Eventually, the person will be able to quit gambling for good and live a happier, more fulfilling life.
A person gambles by placing something of value on a random event with the intention of winning something else of value. A person is said to have a gambling disorder when their behavior interferes with their normal functioning. It is a behavioral addiction that can be very hard to overcome. Although most people who try…