Gambling involves placing a wager on an event with the hope of winning money or another prize. It produces a sense of excitement and fulfillment when winning, but can also feel painful when losing. It can be a dangerous habit and people who are addicted to gambling are more likely to have a range of other problems, including depression, anxiety, drug abuse, family problems, work difficulties, poor eating habits and trouble sleeping.
Compulsive gamblers tend to use the euphoria of winning as a way to cover up negative feelings and avoid dealing with them. They often spend more time gambling than they do on other activities, and are preoccupied with thinking about their next bet. They may lie to friends and family about how much they are spending or borrow money from them for gambling, or even steal. Eventually they will run out of money and will start seeking other sources of funds, such as loans from employers or credit cards.
People who struggle with gambling addiction can benefit from professional treatment. Psychotherapy can help them gain insight into the underlying cause of their problem, and provide a variety of tools for fighting cravings and resolving financial, work and family issues that have arisen as a result of their gambling behavior. Some types of therapy that can be beneficial for gambling addiction include cognitive-behavioral therapy, which focuses on changing unhelpful gambling behaviors and thoughts. Group therapy and psychodynamic therapy can help people understand how their unconscious processes influence their behaviour.