Pathological Gambling

Gambling is the act of placing something of value on a random event with the expectation of winning something else of value. Examples of gambling include betting on a football game, buying scratch cards, playing casino games or investing in the stock market. Many people enjoy the thrill of gambling and find it to be an entertaining activity. However, for a small percentage of people, the behavior can become addictive and cause significant distress or impairment in their lives.

Many people use gambling to relieve boredom, stress or loneliness, and it can be an effective way of socializing with friends. However, there are healthier ways to do these things such as exercise, spending time with friends who don’t gamble and practicing relaxation techniques.

While most individuals who engage in gambling do so without experiencing adverse consequences, a small proportion of individuals develop a disorder called pathological gambling, which is characterized by impaired control over impulses and excessive involvement in gambling. This disorder is a major cause of financial, interpersonal, and emotional problems and can have serious legal implications.

People who have gambling disorders can often hide their problem from loved ones and have difficulty admitting it to themselves. The stigma associated with gambling can also make it difficult for those who have a gambling disorder to seek treatment. However, there are a number of treatments available for those who have this condition, including psychodynamic therapy, group therapy and family therapy.