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Treatment For Gambling Disorder


Gambling involves risking money or something of value (such as time) on an event whose outcome is determined by chance. It includes buying lottery tickets, gambling at casinos, playing card games for money, dice games, keno, baccarat, roulette, sports betting and other forms of wagering on events that have an uncertain outcome. Unlike bona fide business transactions, the purchase or sale of goods and services at a price with an established date of delivery and contracts of indemnity or guaranty are not considered to be gambling.

While some people are able to gamble responsibly, others experience adverse consequences that can have serious effects on their physical and mental health, relationships and performance at work or school, get into trouble with the law, put them in debt, cause homelessness and even suicide. Problem gambling can also damage the health of family members and friends, and it can have a profound impact on society as a whole.

Many individuals are tempted to gamble because of the excitement and adrenaline rush it provides, as well as its perceived low risk and high rewards. They may have a desire to socialize with other people, or it could be a way of dealing with unpleasant feelings such as boredom, loneliness, depression, grief, anxiety or stress. In addition, the media can portray gambling as fun, glamorous and exciting.

The underlying causes of problem gambling are multiple and complex. It is a result of a combination of factors, including but not limited to: genetic predisposition, past trauma and exposure to stressful life events, family problems, social inequality and poverty, and substance use disorders. Problem gambling can begin as early as adolescence or as late as older adulthood, and it can affect men and women equally.

In most cases, people with gambling disorder do not seek help or do not believe that they have a problem. However, several types of treatment are available and can improve a person’s quality of life. Treatment for gambling disorder may include cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, family therapy and other individual therapies. In addition, group therapy and self-help support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous can be helpful.

Some of the most successful treatments for gambling disorder involve a combination of medications and psychotherapy. For example, some studies have shown that a combination of antidepressants and analgesics can be effective in helping people control their craving for gambling activities. Other medications that are used to treat gambling disorders include anticonvulsants, mood stabilizers and sedatives. Medications can be taken orally or through intravenous injections.