Gambling is any activity in which you stake something of value on an event that has a chance of resulting in a prize win. It can be done in casinos, on television or the internet, and also with cards, bingo, instant scratch tickets, races, sports events and even dice. Often, people gamble for the adrenaline rush, to socialise or to escape from worries or stress. But for some people, gambling can become an addictive behaviour that can cause harm to themselves and their family.
There are several types of treatment for gambling disorder, and the first step is to recognise that you have a problem. Then you can start to seek help and recover.
Psychodynamic therapy: This type of therapy looks at how unconscious processes influence your behavior. It can be useful for people who have underlying mood disorders such as depression, stress and anxiety, which can both trigger gambling problems and make them harder to overcome.
Group therapy: This is a type of psychotherapy where you meet with other people who have the same problem. It can be a helpful support network and help you gain strength to stop gambling.
In DSM-5, the new psychiatric manual, gambling disorder has been moved from the category of impulse control disorders to one of the categories on behavioral addictions. This reflects that gambling is now recognised as a type of compulsive disorder, similar to substances such as alcohol or drugs. Research has shown that gambling is associated with similar brain mechanisms, comorbidity and symptoms as substance abuse.