Gambling is the voluntary wagering on an event with an unknown outcome with the objective of winning some other thing of equal or greater value. It involves risks and so requires three elements for it to occur: risk, consideration, and a reward. It is also known as ‘poker gambling’ in the United States, although many other countries use ‘gambling’ to refer to the same activity. Gambling can take many different forms. For example, gambling at a racecourse may involve placing bets on the winner; but in the UK, ‘gambling’ generally refers to betting on horse racing.
One of the main characteristics of gambling addiction is the fact that the person has an uncontrollable and unwavering need for the reward which is normally associated with their activity. This need for the reward is not usually strong enough to keep the person gambling indefinitely, but without it the person would find it very difficult to stop gambling. The more they try and fail at quitting, the stronger the desire becomes to gamble some more, leading to the condition known as ‘gambling addiction’.
As stated above, there are many different types of addictions, but the most common form of gambling addiction is the one which involves an investment in something that is not certain to be of some benefit in the future. These types of addictions include things like poker, lotteries, sports betting and horse racing. In all these cases, the person is putting their money at a greater risk than they could afford to lose.
Treatment for problem gambling addicts is notoriously difficult. This is because in the past, treatment meant either sticking plaster on the person’s self-esteem or sending them to live in a mental hospital. Both of these options are fraught with problems of their own – not least the fact that people are not always willing to be fully dependent upon professionals in order to receive professional help. This means that there is a lot of resistance to treatment from both the person suffering from the addiction and those around them. However, if you are a gambling addict, then treatment is possible and should be looked at by everyone involved, from family and friends to professionals.
The first thing you need to do is acknowledge that you have an addiction problem, whether you admit it or not. If others have noticed your problem, that can only strengthen your resolve. It will also give you something to aim for, something to work towards and if you feel too ashamed to admit it, then see if there is a support group out there who are prepared to help you out. There are many online and offline support groups for addictions of all kinds, so look into as many of them as possible.
Treatment for gambling addiction varies, but for many people it involves some form of therapy. Many people find success through a form of behavioral therapy, in which they attempt to re-train their brains to stop being a compulsive gambler. Others opt for more traditional, inpatient programs that allow them to go through therapy sessions one on one. Whichever path you take, make sure you treat your addiction as you would other addictions.