People with a gambling addiction may turn to self-soothing techniques, such as gambling, to deal with unpleasant emotions. The activities involved in gambling can help people unwind and meet new people, but a problem with gambling should not be ignored. A healthier lifestyle, including exercising and socializing with non-gambling friends, can help individuals deal with boredom. However, in order to prevent and treat gambling addiction, people should seek professional help for this condition.
A gambling addiction may start as a social activity or novelty, but when it becomes a habit, the focus of gambling can shift and become a source of stress. This can only be overcome by understanding the causes and consequences of gambling. Many organisations offer support and assistance for people with gambling problems. Some of these services also offer help for family and friends of a problem gambler. The goal of treatment is to reduce the person’s urge to gamble and restore their mental and physical health.
The stock market is another example of gambling, though a professional gambler has the advantage of knowing his or her own odds. Similarly, paying premiums for life insurance amounts is a form of gambling, in which the payer pays out a predetermined amount of money if he or she dies within a specified period of time. In either case, winnings go to beneficiaries and losing ones are kept by the insurance company, which acts as the bookmaker and sets odds.
The rate of problem gambling is higher in college-aged individuals, a nascent international research literature suggests. This may be related to broader developmental issues. The British Gambling Prevalence Study found that problem gambling was higher among college-aged men than in older age groups. In contrast, the prevalence of problem gambling in women between the ages of 16 and 24 was 1.3% and 0.2% for people aged 65-74 years. Further, the prevalence of problem gambling was significantly higher in college-aged men compared with those in the same age group.
Gambling is a major commercial activity throughout the world. In 2009, the legal gambling market was worth $335 billion. Gambling can also be conducted with materials that have value, such as marbles or game pieces. For example, a player of the card game Magic: The Gathering might wager their collectible pieces in order to win the game. Often, this type of gambling involves the use of meta-gambling. The amount of money wagered in gambling is large enough to make any one person feel rich or sad.
Treatment options for problem gambling include behavior therapy and medication. Treatment for problem gambling includes changing the person’s thinking about gambling. Cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on coping mechanisms and changing unhealthy gambling thoughts. This therapy helps an individual identify the root cause of the problem and develop healthier gambling habits. It is possible to overcome compulsive gambling with treatment. So, the next time you feel the urge to gamble, try a different approach.