Problem gambling can be defined as a pattern of behavior wherein a person finds it difficult to stop or refrain from participating in a specific activity. The emotional and financial consequences are the same for those who engage in periodic gambling binges, whether they are profitable or not. Gambling is a problem when a person cannot stop gambling and it impacts every area of their lives. Treatment may include behavior therapy, or cognitive behavioural therapy, which involves changing an individual’s thinking about gambling.
The most common symptom of problem gambling is increased risk of financial ruin. A gambler’s financial situation is already strained, and the gambling problem can affect relationships with friends and family members. Gambling can become a preoccupation, and even a coping mechanism for a person who is facing difficult financial situations. People with gambling problems may lie about their gambling habits to conceal the extent of their involvement and use others’ money to alleviate their financial circumstances.
While most people engage in gambling at some point in their lives, they should remember that it’s a risk. The odds are stacked against you should plan for it as a separate expense. Chance-based gambling such as lottery tickets and gaming machines can cause a person to experience feelings of euphoria linked to the brain’s reward system. While gambling can be fun, it is not a good way to make money. Responsible gambling requires understanding the odds and deciding when to stop.