Gambling is a popular pastime that can offer a rush of excitement when things go well, but for many people, it can quickly become a destructive habit. It’s important to know what gambling is before engaging in it and understand how this multi-billion dollar industry works so that you can avoid the temptation of betting on your next big win and stay away from the dangers of problem gambling.
Gambling involves betting on a random event with the hope of winning something of value, which could be money or a physical prize. It can be conducted through games such as slots and roulette, which are played in casinos, as well as more social activities such as playing card or board games with friends for small amounts of money or even buying lottery tickets. Gambling also can take place through online betting and electronic games where the odds of winning are determined by a combination of chance and skill.
The earliest evidence of gambling dates back to ancient China, where tiles from around 2,300 B.C. have been found that resemble rudimentary gambling tables. However, gambling wasn’t formally recognized as a problem until the 1980s when it was moved to the “impulse control disorder” category in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which professional psychologists use to diagnose psychological problems. This move was part of a wider effort to recognize gambling as a form of addiction and make it easier for people to get help.
In the past, many psychiatric professionals thought that gambling was a different kind of addiction than other impulse-control disorders such as kleptomania, pyromania and trichotillomania (hair pulling). But today, most experts agree that pathological gambling is no less of an addiction than these other disorders and should be treated the same as they would any other addictive behavior.
People who gamble often do so as a way to relieve boredom or loneliness, as a way to unwind or as a way to cope with emotional distress. It’s important to learn healthier ways of relieving unpleasant feelings, such as exercising, spending time with non-gambling friends, practicing relaxation techniques or taking up new hobbies.
Gambling can lead to a number of problems, such as increased stress and anxiety, financial strain and debt, and strained relationships with family and friends. It can also result in poor work performance and decreased productivity. If you are struggling with a gambling addiction, counseling can provide the support and tools that you need to overcome it. Contact us to speak with a licensed counselor, who can help you develop a plan for recovery and rebuilding your life. Our services are confidential and available 24/7. We can also connect you with a marriage, career and credit counselor, if needed. Our specialists can help you build a stronger foundation to prevent future gambling episodes and repair your relationships and finances. Get started today! It’s free and easy. Start by answering a few simple questions.