Gambling is an activity where people risk money or items of value on the outcome of a game of chance. Some people develop a gambling problem. Pathological gambling is a mental illness that affects approximately 0.4-1.6% of Americans. It typically begins in adolescence or young adulthood and continues for several years. Males have a higher rate of PG than females, and they begin to develop it at an earlier age. Most PG is associated with nonstrategic and less interpersonally interactive forms of gambling, such as scratchcards and slot machines.
It is important to seek help if you have a problem with gambling, or if you know someone who does. There is no cure for a gambling addiction, but therapy can help. It can teach you to identify triggers, find healthier ways to relieve boredom and stress, and practice healthy money management skills. It can also provide support and encouragement.
The biggest step in dealing with a gambling problem is admitting that there is a problem. It takes courage and strength to do this, especially if you have lost money or strained relationships because of your gambling. However, many people have overcome a gambling addiction and rebuilt their lives.
While there are no FDA-approved medications to treat gambling disorders, there are some that can help with co-occurring mood problems, such as depression or anxiety. The most effective treatment for a gambling disorder is to receive professional counseling. There are both individual and family-based therapies, which can be helpful in understanding the underlying causes of the gambling behavior.