How to Overcome a Gambling Disorder

How to Overcome a Gambling Disorder

Whether you like to bet on football games, scratch-off tickets, video poker or the lottery, gambling is an activity that involves placing something of value (money or other items) on a chance event. It requires consideration, risk and a prize. Many people enjoy gambling for the excitement it provides, the dream of winning big, or to take their mind off their problems. For some individuals, it becomes a problem when the gambling takes over their life and causes them to lose control. It can cause financial ruin, strained or broken relationships, job loss, addiction and even suicide.

The first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. It may be hard to do, especially if you have lost significant amounts of money or damaged family and friendships. Fortunately, there are programs and resources available to help you overcome your gambling disorder.

For example, many states have a gambling helpline and other assistance. You can also participate in self-help groups such as Gamblers Anonymous to learn coping mechanisms and find support. There are also therapists who specialize in treating gambling disorders. BetterHelp offers an online therapist match service that can connect you with a licensed and accredited therapist. You can start by taking their assessment and getting matched with a therapist in as little as 48 hours.

Individuals with a gambling disorder come from all walks of life and can be found in all communities, including large cities. It can affect men and women, young and old, and people of all races and religions. It can affect all levels of education and income. It can be an isolated problem or it can run in families.

Some people develop a gambling problem because of their genetic predisposition to addictive behavior. Other people begin to gamble as a way to cope with stress, as a social activity or to relieve boredom. Gambling can change the brain’s natural reward system and increase pleasure. However, over time, gambling can decrease the pleasure felt because of changes to the brain’s chemistry.

Developing a gambling addiction can be a slippery slope. Many people who become addicted to gambling do not realize that their behavior is a problem until it’s too late. Even though it is legal to gamble in many places, it’s not always wise to place a bet with your hard-earned money. In addition to putting your financial future in jeopardy, gambling can negatively impact your physical health, career and personal relationships. For this reason, it’s best to avoid it unless you’re absolutely sure that you can control your urges and stick to a budget. Always play with disposable income, not money that you need to pay bills or rent. You should also never bet with money that you cannot afford to lose. By following these simple tips, you can reduce the chances of developing a gambling addiction. Good luck!