Gambling is a game of chance in which you risk money or something else of value. It can take place in casinos, at the racetrack or on the Internet, but you can also play it with friends at home or in a club. The key is to find ways to control gambling and stay away from it when it’s becoming a problem.
The Brain and Gambling
Aside from being a fun way to pass the time, gambling is also an effective way to stimulate your brain’s reward system. It releases dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter that makes you excited even when you lose. This is why people often gamble when they’re feeling stressed or sad, but it’s best to find other ways to relieve your emotions instead.
If you gamble more than you should, it can become a serious problem. It can affect your relationships, interfere with your work and cause financial problems. It can even lead to a serious mental health condition called gambling disorder, which is a treatable illness that affects people of all ages and from many different walks of life.
Identifying a Gambling Problem
If you think that you or someone you know may have a gambling problem, it’s important to seek help right away. This can include a doctor’s visit, counseling or even treatment in a gambling treatment facility.
Recovering from a Gambling Addiction
A lot of people who start to develop a gambling problem have an underlying mood disorder or substance abuse problem. These disorders can make it difficult to stop gambling. Taking a look at your lifestyle and finding ways to deal with your depression, anxiety or stress can help you break the cycle of addiction.
Rebuilding Your Support Network
If you have a gambling problem, it can be difficult to cope without the support of others. Reach out to your family and friends, and ask them to be your support team in this difficult time. You might also want to consider a 12-step program, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, which is designed to help people overcome their gambling addictions.
Inpatient or Residential Rehab and Treatment Centers
If your gambling addiction is severe, you might need to go to an inpatient or residential rehabilitation center where you can get round-the-clock care. These facilities are usually staffed by professionals who can help you cope with your addiction and learn new skills to prevent relapse.
Recovering from a gambling addiction is a long and challenging process, but it’s worth it in the end. Overcoming this habit requires commitment and perseverance, so it’s a good idea to start working towards a long-term solution as soon as you notice signs of gambling addiction.
Putting A Financial Value on the Social Costs of Gambling
The social costs of pathological gambling are difficult to measure. Because of the high rates of co-morbidity among problem gamblers, it’s hard to attribute them to a single factor and put a monetary value on them.