How to Overcome a Gambling Addiction

Whether you’re a casual gamer or a professional gambler, you’ve probably heard the phrase “Gambling is a vice and a human weakness.” However, there are some people who have an addiction to gambling that can cause serious problems. The first step to overcoming gambling addiction is acknowledging that you have a problem. This can be difficult, especially if you have lost money and strained or broken relationships because of your gambling habits. Fortunately, there are ways to get help and rebuild your life.

Gambling involves wagering something of value on an event that is based on chance and offers a prize. The most common forms of gambling are the lottery, horse racing, and card games. In addition, some people gamble by using the Internet or other computer technologies. Although people have been gambling since ancient times, modern casinos and racetracks began to appear in the early 19th century. Some countries, such as the United States, have legalized gambling and regulate it. Other countries have banned it. There are also differences in how gambling is viewed by different cultures.

There are a number of signs and symptoms that indicate a person may have a gambling problem. These include: — Being preoccupied with gambling (e.g., having persistent thoughts about gambling experiences, handicapping or planning for the next venture, or thinking of ways to get money to gamble); — Often losing control while gambling (e.g., spending more money than they intended to or chasing losses); — Lying to family members or therapists about the extent of involvement with gambling; — Has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity, or has committed illegal acts, such as forgery, fraud, theft, or embezzlement, in order to finance gambling; and — Relies on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling (American Psychiatric Association 2000).

The most common treatment for gambling disorders is cognitive-behavioral therapy. This type of therapy focuses on changing unhealthy gambling behaviors and replacing them with healthy ones. It can teach you how to fight gambling urges, solve relationships and financial problems, and change faulty beliefs about gambling. It can also treat underlying conditions that contribute to compulsive gambling, such as depression, stress, substance abuse, and anxiety.

Many people begin gambling as a way to self-soothe unpleasant emotions or boredom, but it can actually make these feelings worse over time. Instead, try to find healthier ways to cope with these feelings, such as exercising, socializing with friends who don’t gamble, or practicing relaxation techniques. It’s also important to set time and money limits for yourself when gambling, and never chase your losses. This is because chasing your losses usually leads to bigger losses. If you have trouble controlling your spending, consider putting gambling on auto-pay or closing online betting accounts. Never use credit cards to gamble, and try not to gamble when you are depressed or upset.