Gambling Disorders – What is Compulsive Gambling and How to Overcome It


Gambling is an activity in which individuals risk something of value on an event whose outcome is uncertain, with the hope of winning more than they have invested. This could be money, property, or other valuables. While gambling can be an enjoyable pastime, it can also cause harm if it becomes out of control. People may gamble to relieve boredom or stress, as a way to socialize with friends, or for other reasons. Regardless of why people choose to gamble, it is important to understand how to do so responsibly.

Compulsive gambling is an addictive behavior that causes serious problems in a person’s life. It occurs when a person is unwilling to stop gambling, even when it has a negative impact on their health, work, or family. Compulsive gambling can also lead to illegal activities, such as stealing or lying in order to support the habit.

A person can develop a gambling disorder in any setting, including online casinos and brick-and-mortar establishments. The disorder can affect any age, race, or gender, but it is more common among men and younger adults. It can begin in adolescence or early adulthood and develop into a problem several years later. Some experts have suggested that the DSM-5 change to label pathological gambling as an addiction will increase recognition of this disorder and promote research into effective treatment options.

Many people who have a gambling disorder can be helped by seeking help through a variety of resources. These include therapy, self-help support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous, and counseling for family members. Some people have found that avoiding gambling-related triggers, such as attending a casino or watching sports events, helps them overcome their addiction. Other techniques include postponing gambling, practicing relaxation techniques, and focusing on positive aspects of their lives.

In some cases, a person with a gambling problem needs more intensive treatment and rehab programs. These can be inpatient or residential and provide round-the-clock support for a person struggling with a gambling disorder. Often, these programs also include education about responsible gambling and teaching people with this disorder skills to manage their money.

It takes a lot of strength and courage to admit that you have a gambling problem, especially when it has cost you money and caused strained or broken relationships. However, it is possible to overcome a gambling addiction and rebuild your life. If you are ready to take the first step towards recovery, contact a therapist today. You can be matched with a professional, licensed, and vetted therapist in less than 48 hours. Start your recovery journey now. It’s free and confidential.