How Gambling Affects Your Life


Gambling is a popular pastime that involves placing a value on a random event that has an uncertain outcome. The game can involve a bet on a sporting event, a card or table game like poker or blackjack, or a slot machine or dice game. Regardless of the type of gambling, there are several positive and negative impacts associated with this activity. In addition, there are a number of ways to limit or reduce the risk and costs of gambling.

Gamblers can also benefit from their participation in the game by building social capital, which can help them find work or other opportunities, and improve their overall health. However, some people are not able to control their gambling behavior, and this can have serious consequences for themselves and others. In this case, treatment is needed.

The earliest evidence of gambling dates back to ancient China, where tiles were found that appeared to be used for a rudimentary lottery-type game. Since then, gambling has spread to most parts of the world and is available online as well as in traditional brick-and-mortar casinos. It is estimated that around two million people have gambling problems and many of these impact at least one other person, including significant others, family members, friends, and coworkers. These negative effects can include addiction, financial difficulties, and relationship strains.

In the past, psychiatry generally viewed pathological gambling as more of a compulsion than an addiction and classified it under impulse-control disorders such as kleptomania or trichotillomania (hair pulling). However, in a 1980 decision that was widely viewed as a milestone, the APA moved it to the chapter on addictions in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

It is important to understand the difference between problem gambling and recreational gambling. People who have an addiction to gambling experience a variety of symptoms, including compulsive urges, distorted thinking, and loss of control. Treatment for problem gambling includes cognitive-behavioral therapy, which teaches people how to resist irrational beliefs, such as the belief that a string of losses will soon be followed by a big win. Treatment can also include marriage and family counseling, career counseling, and credit counseling.

It is possible to overcome a gambling addiction and reclaim your life. The first step is to realize that you have a problem. Then you can take steps to change your habits, such as getting rid of your credit cards and limiting the amount of money you carry with you. If you’re ready to take the next step, contact the world’s largest therapy service and get matched with a licensed therapist.