Getting Help For Gambling Disorders

Getting Help For Gambling Disorders


Gambling involves risking something of value (such as money or property) on a random event with the hope of winning something else of value. It is a form of entertainment for some people, but for others it can become an addiction with serious consequences. Gambling can take many forms, including lotteries, casinos, and online gambling. It can also involve wagering on sporting events, card games, and other activities.

There are several warning signs that indicate a gambling problem, including: hiding or lying about the extent of one’s involvement in gambling; making excuses to avoid spending time with family and friends; losing interest in favorite hobbies or activities; and failing to meet financial obligations (including debts to friends and family) because of gambling. Some individuals may also engage in illegal activities, such as forgery and embezzlement, to finance their gambling habits.

Some people are more prone to develop a gambling addiction due to factors such as: family history of substance abuse or other addictive behaviors; poor self-esteem; and social and economic circumstances that encourage gambling. Individuals with a gambling disorder can be diagnosed by a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist.

Getting help for a gambling problem is important, but the first step is admitting there is a problem. It is often difficult for individuals to acknowledge that they have a gambling disorder, especially when they are experiencing a loss of control over their finances and relationships as a result of their gambling behavior.

The most effective treatment for compulsive gambling is a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication. During these therapies, the individual learns to identify and challenge unhelpful thoughts and beliefs that may be triggering their gambling problems. The therapist will also teach the person coping skills to replace their unhealthy behaviors with more productive ones.

Another key aspect of treatment is developing a support system. This can be done by reaching out to friends and family, joining a support group, or engaging in online recovery forums. It is also helpful to make new connections with people who are not associated with your gambling lifestyle, such as by joining a book club, signing up for a yoga class, or volunteering in your community.

Finally, it is critical to establish a budget and stick to it. Set limits for how much and how long you will gamble, and leave the casino as soon as you hit those limits. Also, never chase your losses – thinking you are “due” for a big win will only lead to more and bigger losses. Also, don’t play when you are depressed or stressed – these feelings will only make your gambling urges stronger.