Gambling addiction is also called compulsive or problem gambling and it is a behavioral problem where a person bets money even when they can't afford to do it. Gambling addiction can destroy the addict's life, as well as those of their friends, families and coworkers. Those with a gambling addiction will often miss school or work to gamble; they will often steal money and disregard their families' needs in order to feed their habit. Sometimes a gambling addict will even sell their possessions to pay for their gambling, and they may take it to the point where they are bankrupt.
While most people are able to play the slots, go to the races or play bingo without an issue, for a gambling addict, there is a lack of control. The addiction keeps them from making a sensible decision on when to quit, or when to stop chasing their losses. Some choose to go to casinos, race tracks or use poker machines like the kind found in a bar. Others make illegal bets wtih bookmakers, and some play in online casinos. When a person with a gambling problem gambles illegally, they bring more risk upon themselves and their families; but the risk is often insufficient to make the gambler cease their behavior.
For people with gambling addictions, recovery begins with seeking treatment. Treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy, twelve-step programs and psychotherapy are very effective. A gambling addict who wants to recover is expected to stop gambling entirely, and those in psychotherapy have to make other modifications to their behavior. A lot of communities offer help for compulsive gambling, especially those in places where gambling is commonplace. In some places, gambling addicts can ask that their names be added to a ban list so they aren't allowed to even enter the gambling premises.