How to Overcome a Gambling Addiction

How to Overcome a Gambling Addiction

Gambling is the staking of money or something else of value on an uncertain outcome of a game, contest or other event, such as the roll of a dice or the spin of a roulette wheel. It can involve a high degree of risk and is often illegal. The activity can cause stress, loss of control and even bankruptcy if not managed carefully. Historically, gambling was seen as immoral and has had a poor reputation, but in recent years it has become more accepted as a legitimate form of entertainment.

People may gamble for a number of reasons, from the enjoyment of winning to the thrill of risk taking. Regardless of the reason, gambling can be addictive and lead to serious consequences. In fact, it has been likened to alcoholism in terms of its adverse effects. This has led to a change in understanding of the disorder, which was recently reflected in changes to the definition of the condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

The risk of becoming addicted to gambling is associated with all forms of the activity. However, the risks are greater for those who have a family history of gambling addiction and those with certain medical conditions such as bipolar disorder or depression. The problem may also be exacerbated by gambling on credit cards or other forms of debt.

There are many ways to help someone overcome a gambling addiction. Some methods include therapy and medication. For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy can teach someone healthy coping skills and address the underlying issues that are contributing to their gambling behavior. It is also important to establish healthy boundaries and limit gambling to disposable income, avoiding using money that is needed for bills or rent.

Another strategy is to strengthen social connections and engage in other activities that are not connected to gambling, such as attending sporting events or visiting museums. This will help to divert attention from the activity and decrease the chance of a relapse. Additionally, it is helpful to find a peer support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous, which follows the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous.

If you are dealing with a loved one who has a gambling problem, it can be tough to know what to do. Despite the fact that it takes tremendous strength to admit there is a problem, it is still better to seek professional help than to continue to ignore the issue. Fortunately, there are many resources available online that can help you find the right therapist to meet your needs. BetterHelp, for instance, offers a free assessment and can match you with a counselor who is licensed and accredited within 48 hours. You can take the assessment here to get started. Alternatively, you can contact the National Council on Compulsive Gambling directly to learn more about their services. This organization provides information, education, support and treatment for those affected by gambling addiction. The site also includes a free helpline.