For the most part, gambling in moderation is a socially acceptable behavior. Gambling addiction is another story. If left untreated, a gambling addiction can negatively affect your financial situation, relationships, and other aspects of your life.
According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, problem gambling affects more than 2 percent of Americans. If you have a gambling addiction, you may feel an uncontrollable urge to buy lottery tickets, visit casinos, play slot machines, bet on sports, or gamble online.
The specific type and frequency of your gambling behavior may vary. But in general, you will be unable to control that behavior. You will continue gambling, even in the face of negative social, financial, or legal consequences.
The majority of people with gambling addictions are men. But this type of addiction can also affect women.
With the right treatment, gambling addiction is manageable. Unlike someone with a food addiction, you don’t need the object of your addiction to survive. You simply need to learn how to develop a healthy and balanced relationship with money.
It’s important for you to quit gambling completely, since even occasional gambling can lead to a relapse. A program of recovery can help you develop impulse control. In general, gambling addiction is treated with similar methods as other addictions.