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How Gambling Affects Your Life

Gambling involves risking something of value, often money or material valuables, on an uncertain outcome. This uncertainty is based on the element of chance, which can’t be controlled by the bettor. The result of a roll of dice, spin of the roulette wheel or the outcome of a horse race are all examples of gambling. Historically, gambling was seen as immoral and was largely illegal. Today, there are many legal forms of gambling, and the worldwide gambling industry generates an estimated $10 trillion in annual revenues.

A gambling addiction can affect all aspects of your life, including your finances, work, education and personal relationships. Problem gambling can be difficult to overcome without the help of a mental health professional. Counseling can teach you the skills needed to manage your behavior and identify factors that may be contributing to your addictive behaviors. Treatment options include individual, group or family therapy, marriage and family counseling, career and credit counseling, and financial management.

When you gamble, your brain releases a chemical called dopamine, which is associated with positive emotions like pleasure and satisfaction. However, it’s important to remember that these feelings are only temporary. To keep from getting sucked into the gambling cycle, you can try playing games that require a lot of focus or taking regular breaks when gaming.

It’s also helpful to strengthen your support network by spending time with friends who don’t gamble. You can also find a peer support program, such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous. There are also inpatient and residential treatment programs for those who need more intensive support.