Problem Gambling

Gambling involves placing something of value (money, property or other assets) on a random event with the intent to win something else of value. It is considered an addiction when the behavior is harmful to a person’s physical and emotional well-being, their relationships, performance at work or school, and may lead to financial ruin and homelessness. People who have a problem with gambling often report feeling depressed, anxious and lonely. They may also feel that they can’t control their emotions or urges to gamble.

What makes gambling such a difficult behavior to stop is that it triggers feelings of euphoria and pleasure in the brain. This happens because of the chemical changes that take place in the brain when people gamble. This feeling is reinforced by the media, which portrays gambling as fun, glamorous and social. People also gamble because it offers a way to relieve unpleasant feelings, such as boredom, stress or depression, by self-soothing and distracting themselves.

While gambling can be a great form of entertainment, it is important to remember that all forms of gambling involve risk. It is easy to get carried away and end up gambling for longer than you planned, especially in a casino where there are no clocks and the lights are brighter than at home. Using a wallet that only contains disposable income and putting a set amount of money in each day before going gambling will help you to keep track of how much you are spending. You can also try putting the money you are allowed to spend on gambling into an envelope each week and only taking it out when you go.

Another problem with gambling is that it encourages the illusion that the chances of winning increase as you lose. This is known as “partial reinforcement”. The chance of losing does not change, but the player’s brain convinces them that a series of losses will be balanced out by one big win. This is similar to the way a coin flips, if it comes up tails 7 times in a row, our brains tell us that the next time it will be heads.

The best way to deal with a problem with gambling is to talk to a counselor or therapist. Counseling can help you understand your relationship with gambling and think about how it affects your life. It can also help you consider options and solutions. There are no FDA-approved medications to treat gambling disorders, but counseling can help you manage your symptoms and develop a healthier lifestyle. You can find a counselor through AcademicLiveCare, which allows all students, staff and faculty to schedule and attend virtual counseling or psychiatry appointments from anywhere. You can also attend a Let’s Talk session and speak with a professional from the CUCRC.

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