Gambling is an activity where individuals risk something of value at an event with an uncertain outcome. The goal is to win more than they have risked. This can be money, a prize, or some combination of the two.
The key to responsible gambling is to understand the odds and know when to stop. Most people gamble at some point, but if you are losing money or are getting into debt as a result, it is time to seek help for your gambling problem.
Symptoms of compulsive gambling can include:
The urge to keep gambling despite the toll it takes on your life and relationships, such as having to hide your behavior or turn to theft or fraud to support your addiction; spending more money than you earn or have saved; using up savings or creating debt; or thinking about suicide. This may be a sign that you have an underlying mood disorder such as depression, anxiety or stress.
Treatment for underlying mood disorders such as depression, anxiety or stress can be helpful in treating a gambling problem. Your doctor can prescribe medications to treat these conditions, or your therapist can offer therapy that addresses the root causes of your gambling problems.
Developing and maintaining strong relationships can also help. Find people who are not influenced by your gambling habits and share your concerns about your situation with them. You can also join a support group for people with similar problems, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Gamblers Anonymous.
Adopting a budget and sticking to it is another important aspect of responsible gambling. It is not a strategy that will guarantee you a win, but it will give you a better sense of control over your spending. It will also prevent you from wasting money that could be used for other things, such as your mortgage or rent.
If you’re not sure how to manage your finances, talk to a financial adviser or a family member about the best way to spend your disposable income and set limits on your spending. If your loved one has a gambling problem, it’s also important to get support and set boundaries for them in how they use money.
Your doctor or therapist can also recommend a gambling addiction treatment program, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This therapy is designed to address the symptoms of your compulsive gambling, such as impulsive behaviors and uncontrollable thoughts. This can be a long and difficult process, but it is possible to break the habit and live a fulfilling, healthy life free from gambling.
Strengthen your support network
The support of friends and family is a crucial element in overcoming any type of addiction. It can be especially helpful to have a friend or loved one that is also in the process of recovering from a gambling addiction. This person can help you stay accountable to your goals, and encourage you when you are feeling vulnerable or overwhelmed.
Make sure your gambling addiction is treated appropriately and professionally by a qualified therapist. A gambling addiction specialist can provide a comprehensive program that focuses on changing unhealthy habits, beliefs, and thoughts about gambling.