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Gambling Disorder – What is it and How Can it Be Treated?

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Gambling involves risking something of value on an event whose outcome is determined at least in part by chance. It can involve games of chance, like slot machines and roulette, as well as other activities, such as playing bingo or buying lottery tickets.

Gambling is a dangerous activity and can lead to serious financial problems. It is important to recognize your gambling problem and seek help.


Gambling is the placing of a bet that involves something of value, usually money, and that has an element of chance. It is an activity that takes place in a variety of ways, including casinos, card games, sports betting and lottery tickets. It is also an activity that can be done in a social setting, such as when people play board or card games for small amounts of money with friends or participate in office pools to win prizes. However, some people gamble for financial reasons and may become addicted. These individuals may suffer from gambling disorder, which is characterized by a recurrent pattern of gambling behavior that causes substantial distress or impairment.

A person “profits from a gambling activity” if he or she engages in conduct with the intent to promote, facilitate or carry out the gambling activity and, as part of this conduct, either (i) acquires or maintains premises or equipment for use in the game or contest; or (ii) provides a player with an advantage or an unfair disadvantage over other players in a gamble. This does not include bona fide business transactions valid under the law of contracts, such as contracts for the purchase or sale at a future date of securities or commodities, contracts of indemnity or guarantee and life, health or accident insurance.

Signs of a problem

If someone you know uses gambling as a way to mask problems, feel happy or elevate their mood, it’s important to raise the alarm. These are all symptoms of addiction and a sure sign that they should seek help immediately. If they’re using gambling to recoup losses, stealing money or committing fraud to fund their habit, this is another big red flag that you should intervene and offer support.

When confronting a loved one about their gambling behavior, it’s best to talk about it in a calm and supportive manner rather than shaming them. People with gambling problems will often become defensive, but bringing up the topic gently can make them more open to talking about it. Depending on the severity of their problem, they may benefit from psychological therapy or financial counselling. They can also get married, family or career counseling to address the issues caused by their gambling behavior.

Treatment options

Treatment options for gambling include psychotherapy, medication and support groups. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help people identify misguided thoughts and beliefs about gambling that lead to addiction and replace them with healthier ones. It also teaches people to solve problems in other ways than by gambling. Medications can reduce impulse control issues and may help some people stop gambling altogether. These medications include antidepressants, narcotic antagonists and mood stabilizers. Some studies suggest that a combination of these treatments can be more effective than just one.

Support groups can help people find strength and encouragement from others who have dealt with gambling addiction. Some of these groups offer a variety of activities, including group counseling and self-monitoring techniques, such as keeping a diary. Some of these programs are modeled after alcoholics anonymous. Inpatient gambling treatment programs are available for those who can’t control their urges. They require that you stay at a facility for 30 days to a year, but allow you to continue your work and home life.


A person that is prone to gambling can do several things to help themselves stop or reduce their addiction. For starters, they should seek professional counselling from a therapeutic and financial counsellor. They should also inform family and friends about the harmful effects of gambling behaviour. They should also seek legal and financial advice if needed to protect their finances.

Other prevention techniques include identifying triggers for gambling. These triggers may include specific emotions, situations or places. People can then avoid these triggers altogether or at least limit exposure. For example, if stress triggers gambling, the person can try calming activities such as meditation or taking a hot bath with lavender bath salts.

They should also learn to replace negative habits with positive ones. Hobbies such as playing a game of basketball or playing a crossword can be great distractions from problem gambling. In addition, they should consider reducing their financial risk factors by not carrying credit cards and limiting how much money they carry with them when leaving the house.

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