If you feel like gambling is the only way to relieve boredom, you’re not alone. Four out of five adults in the U.S. have gambled at some point in their lives. Legalized gambling in every state has made the activity easier to access. Online gambling is popular and available almost anywhere, and you can even play from the comfort of your own home with a computer and a phone. However, gambling has become such a problem that around two million Americans are addicted to it. As a result, there’s no easy way to stop this bad habit.
Despite the social and psychological toll, gambling can also cause serious physical and emotional problems. Problem gambling is classified as an impulse control disorder and causes problems for individuals, families, and society. People with problem gambling have trouble controlling their urges and need to gamble with increasing amounts to feel the same level of excitement and satisfaction. They may even experience frequent thoughts about gambling, or even try to commit suicide to avoid the consequences of their behavior. In severe cases, gambling addiction can lead to social, career, and family problems.
To recognize and address a gambling addiction, you should make sure you have the support you need. Try to make new friends outside of gambling. Enroll in a gambling-free education class or volunteer work to expand your social network. Gambling-affected individuals can also find support and guidance through peer support groups. If you suspect you may have a gambling problem, you can contact your health care provider for referrals. These professionals can also help you find a treatment program that’s right for you.