In the past, psychiatric experts viewed gambling as a form of compulsion rather than an addiction. But now, research shows that pathological gambling is similar to substance-related disorders in terms of its underlying biology and how it affects people’s brains. As a result, in May this year, the American Psychiatric Association moved the disorder into its new chapter on behavioral addictions in its diagnostic manual, the DSM-5.
When you gamble, you are wagering something of value on a random event with the intent of winning another item of value. Instances of strategy are discounted. Gambling is a complex activity that involves consideration, risk, and a prize.
It can be difficult to know when gambling is becoming a problem, especially because it’s often considered a socially acceptable pastime. Some people hide their gambling or try to minimise it. They might even start lying about their spending habits in order to conceal their addiction and avoid the consequences of seeking help.
A gambling problem can have a significant impact on the person’s life, affecting their family, work and health. Fortunately, it is possible to treat gambling addictions, and many organisations offer support, assistance and counselling for those affected. However, it is important to understand that the key to success is recognising that you have a problem and seeking professional help.
How Can I Stop Gambling?
It takes tremendous strength and courage to admit that you have a problem. Especially when it’s a habit that has cost you money and strained your relationships. It’s also important to remember that a gambling problem isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. The best approach is to find a therapist who can understand the unique issues you face and help you break your gambling addiction.
One of the most effective ways to break a gambling addiction is to limit your access to money. This means getting rid of your credit cards, putting someone else in charge of your finances, closing online betting accounts and only ever gambling with disposable income – not money that you need for bills or rent. It’s also worth allocating a set amount of your disposable income to gambling and refusing to spend more than that. This will help you keep in control and not get carried away with your winnings. You can also seek out peer support through groups such as Gamblers Anonymous, which uses a 12-step program based on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous to help people recover from their addiction.