Gambling is an addictive behavior characterized by a constant urge to bet. While gambling is fun and entertaining when done responsibly, it can be harmful if it is done in excess. Often referred to as a hidden addiction, problem gambling is often difficult to identify because it has few physical or behavioral symptoms. Symptoms of gambling addiction include increased craving, weakened control over urges to gamble, and financial loss. The consequences of a gambling addiction can be severe and may even affect a person’s life.
Unlike investing, gambling has time limits. The chances of profiting from gambling are extremely slim. Unlike investments, a gambler’s capital may be spent within a matter of months or years, while the return on investments can be sustained over decades. Even worse, in most cases, one will lose all the money he or she has invested. A professional gambler must consider the time and risk associated with the activity before making a decision.
Several therapies are available for individuals struggling with gambling addiction. While no FDA-approved medication exists specifically for this condition, many treatments work to treat co-occurring disorders. Family and friends support can be invaluable during the healing process, and setting boundaries in managing money can be very helpful in maintaining the stability of a family. In addition to counseling, the individual should consider joining a peer support group like Gamblers Anonymous. These groups are based on the 12-step recovery program modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous. To complete the program, a sponsor will be assigned to the individual. This person can provide guidance and support as well as support.