Many mental health professionals use criteria to diagnose problem gambling. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is a manual published by the American Psychiatric Association. It lists gambling disorder among many addictive behaviors. These criteria are based on the Gambler’s repeated and unsuccessful attempts to control their gambling. The Gambler has no other recurrent behavioral patterns. The Gambling Disorder is an illness that is characterized by an individual’s inability to control their behavior and the resultant financial and social problems.
When gambling, one should know the odds, set limits, and know when to stop. One should also plan for a loss and treat gambling as an expense, not a way to make money. The best way to reduce gambling is to understand the reasons behind the behavior. By understanding the reasons why people gamble, it is possible to change it and make it more responsible. Gambling is fun, but not a good idea if it causes financial or social problems.
One of the earliest evidence of gambling is from ancient China. Tiles dated from around 2,300 B.C. were used in rudimentary lottery games. Nowadays, gambling is a legitimate activity and can prove to be lucrative if properly practiced. According to the World Health Organization, US gambling revenues are expected to reach $13.6 billion in the second quarter of 2021. Ultimately, however, the key to minimizing gambling addiction is to avoid risky gambling behaviors and develop a strategy for limiting them.
Although gambling has been around for centuries, its popularity in the United States has been suppressed by law for nearly as long. In the early 20th century, the majority of U.S. states had banned gambling. The increased involvement of governments in gambling has led to a close relationship between the government and gaming organizations. Many states now permit legal gambling despite the dangers of illegal activities. Gambling is still illegal in some jurisdictions, but it is much less than the total.
Individuals suffering from gambling addiction should strengthen their support system. They should reach out to friends and family members and establish new connections outside the gambling world. They should also consider taking up volunteer work, volunteering for a good cause, or enrolling in a peer support group. Another option is joining a gambling support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous. This group offers 12-step recovery from gambling addiction, patterned on the Alcoholics Anonymous program. Individuals must choose a sponsor, who is a former gambler who can provide guidance.
Once a person’s gambling addiction has developed into an unhealthy obsession, treatment options vary, including medications, therapy, and lifestyle changes. Individuals with an addiction to gambling can benefit from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to control their compulsive behaviors and thoughts and reduce the impact on their lives. Counselling sessions are confidential and available round the clock. The CBT process is very effective in reducing the urge to gamble, while allowing the patient to learn coping skills.