What exactly is Gambling? Gambling is actually the wagering something worth of value in an uncertain case with the purpose of winning something with the intention of losing something else as well. Gambling therefore requires three essential elements to exist: risk, consideration, and a reward. Without these three elements, the game of gambling would not be possible. Risk is the element of uncertainty, while consideration is the element of chance.
Addiction or gambling addiction is one of the most misunderstood addictions. Gambling addiction refers to any psychological dependence, an individual develops for gambling. Most people who are addicted to gambling do so because of habit. Habit means that the individual becomes used to the euphoric feelings the ritual produces. Over time, the individual’s tolerance to that euphoria wears off, which causes the individual to crave the feeling again and possibly experience a higher risk of experiencing the euphoria again.
Addiction to gambling also can come from many other sources. One such source of addiction is the separation or divorce of a spouse, which often creates a sense of emptiness, and a higher potential for obtaining addictive behavior. Many people who are not married also develop addictions related to the loss of a loved one or other form of grief. Some addicts develop addictions that stem from the stress of everyday life, especially work-related stress. Gamblers can also develop addictions related to work-related stress, the inability to relax, and boredom.
Although gambling addiction is by far the most common form of addiction, there exist various other forms of addictions such as drug and alcohol addictions, food cravings, and even computer or internet addictions. The reasons for each of these types of addictions are not known, but it is thought that some of them might stem from psychological factors such as anxiety or depression, or physical factors such as muscle tension or lack of oxygen due to long hours at a computer. Gamblers are especially vulnerable to developing these various types of addictions because their addiction is based on their need for instant euphoric release. And this need can lead to repeated acts of gambling until they can no longer function without it.
Treatment for a gambling addiction involves both psychotherapy and medication. Often times, in the beginning stages of treatment, the main goal is to help a person understand and recognize that they have a problem, and to be willing to make changes so they can stop gambling. Psychotherapy can include a variety of different treatments to help gamblers make changes in their lives. Cognitive behavioral therapy is commonly used to teach gamblers how to think and behave when it comes to gambling. This treatment requires the gambler to face their problems and determine what causes them to keep gambling. Individuals are usually taught about self-hypnosis, self-explanatory statements, alternative options for gambling, ways to earn more money, and how to stop gambling once it becomes too late.
Medication is often used in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy. Anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medicines, and beta blockers may be prescribed to help individuals suffering from problem gambling addictions. Gamblers who are taking medications should always check with their doctor to make sure the medications are not causing unnecessary side effects and that they are still appropriate for their specific problem. If you or someone you know is suffering from problem gambling, do not hesitate to see your doctor for additional help.