Whether buying a Lotto ticket, placing a bet on the horse racing or grabbing a scratchcard for some instant excitement, gambling is a popular activity that most people do at least occasionally. However, for many it can become a serious problem. If you’re constantly betting more than you can afford to lose or borrowing money to fund your habit, it’s important to seek treatment and get the help you need.
Gambling involves placing something of value on a random event with the intention of winning something else of value (either cash or other goods). Unlike sports betting, where people can pick their own team and win, the odds of an event being won are set by the bookmakers and cannot be predicted. However, people do exhibit cognitive and motivational biases that distort their perception of odds and influence which bets they prefer.
While the underlying causes of problem gambling are complex, it is known that it has high comorbidity with other addictive behaviors such as substance use and eating disorders. As a result, the DSM-5 has changed the criteria for pathological gambling to include a new diagnosis of “Gambling Disorder.” It is important that we improve our understanding of the etiology of this condition so that more effective treatments can be developed.
It can be difficult to admit that you have a gambling problem, especially if it has cost you your finances and strained or destroyed your relationships. However, seeking therapy and changing your gambling habits can make a huge difference in your life. Get matched with a professional, licensed therapist who can help you break the cycle of addiction and rebuild your life.