Psychotherapy for Gambling Disorders


Gambling involves placing a value on the outcome of a random event where instances of strategy are discounted. It requires three elements: consideration, risk and a prize.

While gambling is often regarded as a socially acceptable form of entertainment, it can be detrimental to your mental health. If you find yourself losing more than you can afford to win, or if your urge to gamble is taking away from other parts of your life, it may be time to seek help.

Several types of psychotherapy are available for people with gambling disorders, including cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy and psychodynamic therapy. Each of these therapies aims to change unhealthy thoughts and behaviors and improve your overall well-being. Some of these therapies can also address other psychological conditions, such as anxiety and depression, which are common in people with gambling disorder.

A variety of factors contribute to the onset and progression of gambling problems. These include a tendency toward sensation-and novelty-seeking, impulsivity and negative emotionality. In addition, there are some individuals who have a genetic predisposition to gambling. Research suggests that a number of family-level factors, such as economic stress and domestic abuse, are linked to pathological gambling.

Although it has been compared to substance abuse, the DSM-IV criteria for pathological gambling suggest that it is not an addiction. Nevertheless, researchers and clinicians have different paradigms or world views from which to consider gambling and its problems, and these differences have stimulated debate and controversy.