How to Overcome a Gambling Addiction

Jun 23, 2023 Gambling


Gambling is a common leisure activity that involves betting money or other items of value against an uncertain outcome. It can be fun and exciting, but it can also lead to addiction. Addiction to gambling has serious consequences for the gambler, their family, and society. It can lead to bankruptcy, debt, homelessness, and even mental health problems. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to break the addiction. These include seeking professional help, setting limits, and engaging in healthy activities.

There are many benefits to gambling, including socialization, mental development, and skill improvement. However, these benefits only materialize when gambling is done in moderation. This is why it is important to know the difference between a hobby and an addiction.

The first step to overcoming a gambling addiction is realizing that you have a problem. This can be hard, especially if you have lost a lot of money or strained your relationships due to gambling. However, it is important to remember that you are not alone. There are many others who have been through the same thing and have successfully broken their gambling habits.

Psychiatric treatment for gambling addiction can be effective, and may include cognitive-behavioral therapy to teach you how to resist unwanted thoughts and habits. For example, you might learn to challenge irrational beliefs, such as the belief that a string of losses means an imminent win or that a certain combination (such as three out of four cherries on a slot machine) will bring you luck. This treatment is backed by dozens of studies and has shown promising results.

Aside from helping you control your finances, a good treatment plan may involve family and peer support groups. It may also include physical activity, such as yoga, a meditation practice, or a hobby, such as knitting. In addition, it is helpful to find a therapist who is familiar with the psychological and medical aspects of gambling addiction.

In the past, the psychiatric community generally viewed pathological gambling as a compulsion rather than an addiction. In the 1980s, when the APA updated its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, however, it moved pathological gambling into the category of impulse-control disorders, which also includes kleptomania and pyromania.

There are a number of ways to prevent a gambling addiction, such as setting limits on spending and limiting the time spent gambling. It is also a good idea to stay away from alcohol and other drugs when gambling. You can also strengthen your support network by reaching out to friends and family members, joining a book club, or volunteering for a cause that is meaningful to you.

Lastly, it is important to set boundaries with your loved ones when it comes to financial management. For instance, you should not let your partner use your credit card to make online bets or buy lottery tickets. You should also limit access to your bank accounts and close online gambling accounts. If you are struggling to stop gambling, try calling a friend or family member for support, visiting a self-help group for families such as Gamblers Anonymous, or trying a different recreational activity.

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