Treatment For Gambling Disorder

Gambling involves risking something of value — money, property or other valuables — on an uncertain event. It can be as simple as purchasing a lottery ticket or as complex as placing a bet in a casino. In some cultures, gambling is a socially acceptable pastime. In others, it is illegal. For some, it can become a dangerous obsession.

People with a gambling problem often feel secretive about their behavior, hiding their spending and lying to family members. They may also be impulsive and find it hard to stop gambling, even when they are losing money. Some people may even be stealing or embezzling funds from family and friends to fuel their addiction.

There are many different types of treatment for gambling disorder, including group therapy and family therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective approach, teaching individuals how to change their thinking and behaviors around gambling. Individuals with a gambling disorder may also benefit from finding support in a peer-to-peer support group such as Gamblers Anonymous.

Psychiatrists used to categorize pathological gambling as an impulse control disorder, along with kleptomania, pyromania and trichotillomania (hair pulling). But in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the American Psychiatric Association moved compulsive gambling into the category of behavioral addictions. This change reflects new research showing that pathological gambling shares a lot of characteristics with substance-related disorders.

The causes of gambling disorder are not well understood, but there are some risk factors. It can run in families, and it can be triggered by trauma or stress. It tends to start in adolescence, but it can occur later in life as well. It is more common in men than women. Some people with a gambling disorder have had previous experiences with trauma or abuse, especially as children or adolescents.

For someone with a gambling disorder, the first step toward recovery is admitting there is a problem. This can be difficult, especially if the person has lost significant amounts of money and has damaged relationships. However, it is essential to seek help before the situation worsens.

Seeking treatment for a gambling disorder can be challenging because it is often a private affair. Many people with gambling disorders are embarrassed about their behavior and avoid seeking help, but there is a way to overcome this obstacle. BetterHelp, an online service, can match you with a licensed, accredited therapist who specializes in addiction and can help you with your gambling disorder. Take a free assessment and get matched with a therapist in as little as 48 hours. Start your journey to recovery today.