Gambling involves putting something of value (money or other assets) on an event that is determined at least in part by chance. The bettor hopes that he or she will ‘win’ and gain something of value, but there is always the possibility that the gambler will lose everything. Gambling can take many forms, from placing a bet on a football team to buying a scratchcard.

It is important to understand why a person might become addicted to gambling in order to help them stop this behaviour and seek help. In some cases, the underlying cause of the problem may be a physiological condition, such as a chemical imbalance in the brain, or a genetic predisposition to thrill-seeking behaviour and impulsivity. In others, a gambling addiction is caused by cultural beliefs and values that influence how risk is perceived and how people think about winning.

Whether the problem is a physiological or a psychological one, it is important to realise that pathological gambling can be treated effectively. There are several effective treatments available, including individual and group counselling. However, it is important to know that there are no FDA-approved medications for treating pathological gambling, and that a successful treatment depends on understanding the underlying issues involved and the person’s personal situation. For this reason, it is essential to find a therapist with specialist knowledge and experience of the treatment of gambling problems.