Gambling is the wagering of something of value on a random event with the intent of winning something else of value, where instances of strategy are discounted. Traditionally, gambles are conducted with money or goods, but nowadays the concept of gambling has expanded to include activities such as playing online casino games, buying lotteries tickets, and betting on sports events. Some people who engage in these activities are viewed as having a problem, and they may be classified as having a pathological gambling disorder.
Pathological gambling has been linked to suicide in some individuals, so it’s important to seek help immediately if you have thoughts of suicide or feel like you can’t cope. Similarly, it’s essential to seek professional support if you have a friend or family member who is struggling with a gambling addiction. Depending on your individual situation, you may benefit from counselling or group therapy, as well as medication, which is used to treat co-occurring conditions such as depression or anxiety.
There are no FDA-approved medications to treat gambling disorders, but psychotherapy can be helpful. During treatment, you will learn how to identify and change unhealthy emotions, thoughts, and behaviors that lead to harmful gambling behavior. There are several types of psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps you understand how your thinking influences your actions; and psychodynamic therapy, which explores unconscious processes that influence your behavior. You can also get help from a peer support group such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous.