Gambling involves placing something of value, usually money, on an event that is determined by chance with the intent of winning it. It can be done for recreation or with serious financial stakes. It requires three elements: consideration, risk, and a prize. In addition to the potential for loss, gamblers often experience negative emotions such as anxiety, guilt, depression, and fear. In extreme cases, compulsive gambling can lead to illegal acts such as forgery, fraud, embezzlement, and theft. It can also cause relationship problems and jeopardize employment, educational, and career opportunities. It is estimated that the amount of money legally wagered each year is about $10 trillion (American Psychiatric Association 2000).
There are many risk factors for gambling disorders, including a family history, adolescent exposure to gambling activities, and economic disparity. Other risk factors include underlying mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, which may trigger gambling problems or be made worse by them.
Several types of therapy can help people overcome gambling disorder, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and group therapy. In addition, it is important to recognize that you are not alone; others have struggled with this problem and have been able to break free from it.
To help stop gambling, get rid of credit cards, have someone else in charge of your finances, close online betting accounts, and keep a small amount of cash on you. Find alternative ways to spend time, such as visiting friends, exercising, taking a class, or reading a book.