How to Overcome a Gambling Disorder


A form of risk-taking where something of value is placed on a random event with the intent to win something else of value, gambling can take many forms. These include card games, scratch-off tickets, video poker, slot machines, lottery games and betting on events such as horse or dog races, football accumulators and elections. Gambling may also involve speculating on business or stock market activity.

Despite its widespread popularity, there is a significant percentage of people who have an addictive gambling problem. This is a serious mental health issue that can lead to financial ruin, strained relationships and even suicide. Fortunately, there are many treatments available to help people overcome this condition.

The first step in overcoming gambling addiction is to recognize that there is a problem. This can be difficult for someone who has been a compulsive gambler for a long time, particularly if they have lost a lot of money and shattered their lives along the way. Nevertheless, it is essential to acknowledge that there is a problem in order to seek treatment.

In addition to acknowledging a gambling disorder, the person must be willing to take steps to get help. This might include calling a family member, asking for help from a support group such as Gamblers Anonymous or enlisting the assistance of a professional counselor. The therapist will work with the individual to develop strategies for dealing with triggers and developing healthier coping mechanisms. Some types of therapy used for gambling disorders are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy and group therapy.

It is important to have a solid plan for managing money and other resources. It is also helpful to set limits on how much time you can spend gambling and how much you will be willing to lose. It is also a good idea to avoid gambling when you are feeling down or depressed, as these are the times when you are most likely to make poor decisions.

Other risk factors for gambling problems include a tendency to seek sensations, novelty or arousal, boredom susceptibility and use of escape coping. A desire to replicate an early big win, impulsivity and a poor understanding of probability are also common in gambling disorders.

Often, the person with a gambling disorder will hide their behavior and lie to friends and family members. This can make it more difficult to seek help, but there are support groups available. Additionally, some research has shown that physical activity can decrease the urge to gamble. The person with a gambling disorder should also try to balance gambling with other activities such as family, friends, work and hobbies. It is recommended that the person not gamble on credit, have someone else manage their finances and close online betting accounts. Gambling addiction can be extremely dangerous, and if left unchecked it can be life-threatening.