Gambling is an addictive behavior that has negative psychological, social, and financial consequences. The American Psychiatric Association has developed criteria for the diagnosis of gambling disorders. According to these criteria, people with Gambling Disorder spend increasing amounts of money to obtain the same “high” as when they first began gambling. Gamblers have made repeated attempts to cut back but have not been able to control their impulses. They often suffer from depressive symptoms and even attempt to commit suicide.
While gambling has long been associated with men, the role of women in the gambling industry has increased in recent years. A Finnish study found that men gambled more for excitement and entertainment, and women typically gamble for money. Both genders participate in different gambling activities and games, but many people with a gambling problem find that they are motivated by boredom or negative feelings. If this is the case, recognizing your reasons for gambling can help you reduce your chances of developing an addiction to the activity.
Counseling and support groups can help you and your loved one better understand and manage their gambling problem. There are no approved medications to treat gambling disorder, although some may help with co-occurring conditions. Family and friends can provide valuable support in the fight against gambling addiction, but it is ultimately up to the individual to decide whether or not to change their behavior. The key to ending a gambling addiction is to understand what causes it and then stop it from affecting other areas of your life.