Whether you’re betting on a football team to win a game or buying a scratchcard, gambling is all about risking money in hopes of winning big. The money you bet is matched with ‘odds,’ or chances of winning, which are set by the company running the event you are betting on.
While gambling may be most often associated with casinos and racetracks, it can also occur in other places, including gas stations, church halls, and online. Gambling can be a way for people to meet some of their basic needs, such as the need for a sense of belonging or the need for power and control. Some people who engage in problematic gambling do so for coping reasons, such as to forget their worries or to relieve boredom.
Behavioral therapy can help treat problem gambling. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) teaches you to recognize and change unhealthy thoughts and behaviors, such as the urge to gamble. CBT also helps you learn how to cope with stress and find healthier ways to spend your time. Medications can be used to treat co-occurring conditions, such as depression or anxiety, which are common in people who struggle with gambling disorder. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not approve medications to treat compulsive gambling, but psychotherapy such as family, group or individual therapy can help you deal with your addiction and solve work, family, and financial problems caused by gambling behavior. Changing your thinking and behavior can help you stop gambling and live a happy, productive life.