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Gambling Addiction

Gambling is an activity in which a person wagers something of value on the outcome of a random event. It includes betting on sports, games of chance, horse races, and other events. The value of the wager is usually money or a prize. Generally, gambling is legal in countries and territories where it is regulated. It contributes to the economies of those countries and offers employment opportunities to a large number of people.

While many people enjoy gambling in moderation, it is important to recognize when gambling becomes a problem. Problem gambling is associated with serious harm to the gambler’s personal relationships, work performance, health and well-being, and family and social life. In addition, problem gambling affects other family members, friends, and co-workers. It can also cause financial difficulties, including bankruptcy and homelessness.

The most effective way to treat gambling addiction is through cognitive-behavioral therapy. This type of therapy teaches people to resist unwanted thoughts and behaviors. It can also help them confront irrational beliefs, such as the belief that a string of losses or a near miss (such as two out of three cherries on a slot machine) indicates an imminent win.

In addition to treatment, it is important to seek help for underlying mood disorders. Depression, anxiety, or other mood problems can trigger and worsen gambling addictions. In fact, studies have shown that more than half of pathological gamblers have mood disorders.