Dealing With Gambling Problems

Dealing With Gambling Problems


Gambling is any activity where a person stakes something of value on an event that is uncertain in nature with the intent to win money or other valuables. It usually takes place in casinos, but can also occur at racetracks, television shows, sporting events and the Internet. While gambling can be enjoyable and provide a rush when things go well, it can also lead to addiction and have devastating effects on a person’s life, family, friends and work performance. There are several ways to cope with a loved one who has a gambling problem, including seeking support from family members and attending meetings of gambling addicts or self-help groups for families such as Gam-Anon.

Intangible benefits and costs, which are generally difficult to quantify in dollar terms, are often omitted from economic impact studies of gambling. Intangible benefits may include reduced criminal justice costs and social services costs, while intangible costs may include increased unemployment and decreased productivity due to gambling.

Direct economic benefits are measurable, tangible effects that can be quantified in dollar terms, such as employment and tourism. Indirect economic benefits are less tangible, but still measurable in dollar terms, such as the increased number of people spending their leisure time at a casino or racetrack.

Many governments use gambling to raise revenue for government expenditures, such as public works projects and social services. However, this type of funding can raise moral concerns, particularly if state agencies use advertising or promotion to encourage gamblers. Additionally, some states allow gambling profits to be used for general government operations rather than directing them toward specific public expenditures.

Several types of psychotherapy can help a person overcome an addiction to gambling. These treatments are individualized and take place with a trained mental health professional, such as a licensed psychologist or clinical social worker. They can include techniques to identify and change unhealthy emotions, thoughts and behaviors.

Those who suffer from a gambling disorder should avoid activities that can trigger their urges to gamble. Those activities include watching sports, going to bars or restaurants and attending concerts. It is also important to learn how to handle stress in healthy ways and find other ways to spend your time. Those who struggle with gambling should also seek treatment for any co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety. There are no FDA-approved medications that treat gambling disorder, but there are some effective treatments that can help a person stop the behavior. These treatment options include counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy and group therapy. They can also help a person identify other problems that contribute to his or her gambling behavior and come up with solutions for those issues. For example, a counselor may recommend that the person learn to budget his or her money, spend more time with non-gambling friends and practice relaxation techniques. A therapist can also suggest new hobbies that can replace the urge to gamble. These activities can be fun, rewarding and more healthy than gambling.