How to Overcome a Gambling Addiction

December 12, 2023 By Admingalak Off

Gambling involves risking something of value on the outcome of a game of chance, including money, property and even personal relationships. It can also involve betting on sports events, playing games of chance with collectible game pieces (such as marbles or Magic: The Gathering cards), and wagering on games of skill, such as a casino table game like blackjack or poker. Some states prohibit gambling, while others promote it through state-run lotteries and other forms of regulated gambling. Whether the activity is legal or not, it can still be problematic.

The scientific understanding of gambling addiction has undergone profound changes in recent decades. In the past, people who struggled with gambling were considered to have a psychological disorder similar to alcoholism. Now, the American Psychiatric Association recognizes that pathological gambling is an addictive disorder that should be treated in much the same way as any other substance abuse problem.

Research shows that gambling triggers the release of dopamine, a chemical that causes us to seek pleasure and feel good. The dopamine released by gambling, however, can have negative effects on our thoughts, emotions and behaviors. In the long run, this can cause a person to seek pleasure from gambling more and more, to the point where they cannot control their behavior. This can lead to serious financial problems and ruin relationships.

While there are no medications currently approved to treat pathological gambling, several types of psychotherapy can help people overcome their urges and break the cycle. In some cases, these therapies can be delivered in a group setting, as part of a peer support program such as Gamblers Anonymous. In other cases, they can be provided by a licensed mental health professional.

In addition to individual therapy, there are many programs that offer help to family members and spouses of gamblers. These programs can teach the skills needed to rebuild damaged relationships and restore financial stability. They can also provide support groups for those who are struggling with gambling addiction, and help them find ways to replace unhealthy coping mechanisms.

One of the most difficult steps in overcoming a gambling addiction is admitting that you have a problem. It takes tremendous courage to acknowledge that you have a problem, especially when it has ruined your finances and affected your relationships. However, this is an important first step in breaking the cycle.

If you’re unsure where to start, talk with a qualified therapist. With BetterHelp, you can be matched with a vetted, licensed psychologist or social worker in as little as 48 hours. Get started now to see how we can help you stop gambling and get your life back on track. You may slip up from time to time, but don’t give up! Remind yourself that recovery from any addictive disorder is a process, and be proud of each small victory. It’s also helpful to strengthen your support network by spending time with friends who don’t gamble, enrolling in a new hobby or learning healthy coping mechanisms for stress and boredom.