Gambling is betting money or something of value on an uncertain event with the intent to win more than was risked. This can be done by playing a game of chance such as roulette or blackjack, by placing a bet on sports events, horse races, or using equipment that produces an uncertain outcome such as dice and cards. Adolescents experiment with gambling behaviors and range from no gamblers to those who only occasionally social gamble or play for fun. Those who engage in problem gambling are at risk for financial, family, work, and personal relationships problems.
In many cases, a person who is addicted to gambling loses not only their money but also their families, friends and careers. Fortunately, there are many treatment options for those suffering from gambling addiction.
Behavioral therapy can help people stop gambling and solve the financial, work, and relationship issues that are often a result of their behavior. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, for example, teaches people to resist unhealthy gambling behaviors and thoughts. Moreover, it can teach them to confront irrational beliefs such as the idea that they will soon get back their lost money.
In addition to undergoing therapy, it is helpful for those suffering from gambling addiction to strengthen their support networks. Whether this means reaching out to family members, finding new friendships, or joining an in-person support group such as Gamblers Anonymous, it is essential that individuals who are struggling with a gambling addiction find a way to replace their harmful activities with other positive and healthy pursuits.