Gambling can be a fun social activity but can also become an unhealthy obsession. Addiction to gambling can affect your relationships, work, and finances. If you or someone you know suffers from gambling addiction, there are steps you can take to get help and prevent further harm.
Gambling is a game of chance where you wager something of value on a random event. In most cases, the gambler hopes to win something of value, such as money. However, sometimes the odds are not equal and the result is a loss. This is called pathological gambling.
People who are affected by gambling can be young or old. Almost 2 out of every 3 teens have gambled at some point in their lives. For instance, adolescent pathological gamblers may spend their pocket money on gambling, or may skip school to do so.
If you think you have a problem with gambling, there are several organizations that can provide support. These include Gamblers Anonymous, which is patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous. Its 12-step program is designed to help addicts stop gambling, as well as find other healthier activities to pursue.
Addiction to gambling can also be a symptom of other psychological issues. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, which focuses on changing false beliefs, can be helpful. During treatment, the person may be given medication to help them cope with their feelings.
The Internet has made gambling more accessible. Many people now play online casinos, which are open 24 hours a day.