How to Overcome Gambling Addiction


Gambling is a form of entertainment in which players stake something of value, such as money or goods, for the chance to win a prize. It can be conducted in a variety of settings, including casinos, sports events, lotteries and online. People gamble for a variety of reasons, from the thrill of winning to socialising with friends. Some people have a genetic predisposition to thrill-seeking behaviour and impulsivity, which can increase their vulnerability to gambling addiction.

While some people have a healthy relationship with gambling, many others find it difficult to control their gambling and may experience problems. In some cases, the problem can cause serious financial or psychological damage. In addition, compulsive gambling can lead to substance abuse, which has been linked with depression, anxiety and other disorders. It is also common for people with gambling disorder to have strained or broken relationships.

For some people, gambling is a way to relieve unpleasant feelings, such as boredom or loneliness, while for others it offers a sense of excitement and adventure. However, there are healthier ways to cope with these feelings, such as spending time with friends who don’t gamble or exercising. Additionally, gambling can become a way to self-soothe unpleasant emotions, such as anger or stress.

It is estimated that around 4% of adults have a gambling disorder, but it can be hard to recognise when you have a problem. There are many factors that can influence your risk of developing a gambling disorder, including age, gender and family history. Compulsive gambling tends to run in families, and it is more common for men than women to develop a gambling disorder.

If you have a problem with gambling, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. There are a range of treatments available, including psychotherapy, support groups and behavioural therapy. Psychotherapy is a type of counselling that can help you explore your feelings and beliefs about gambling, such as identifying underlying triggers and learning to manage urges. It can also help you to understand your coping mechanisms and develop more effective strategies for managing your gambling.

There are several different types of behavioural therapy, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) and psychodynamic therapy. CBT and DBT can be helpful for overcoming addiction, as they teach you to recognise and challenge negative thoughts and behaviours. Psychodynamic therapy focuses on how unconscious processes can impact your behaviour. It can also be useful for addressing issues such as family conflict and low self-esteem.

It can be difficult to recognise a gambling problem, especially if you are in denial or have lost money or strained relationships as a result of your gambling habit. It is important to get help as early as possible, so speak to a therapist who can offer support and guidance. BetterHelp is an online therapy service that matches you with accredited therapists who can help with mental health issues including gambling addiction. Get started by taking our assessment and we can match you with a therapist in 48 hours.