Treatments For Gambling Addiction

Gambling is an activity in which you put something of value on the outcome of a random event. It can be done in many ways, including betting on sports or horse races, playing slots at the casino, and even online poker or DIY investing. It can be very addictive and cause major financial problems, especially if it’s done with credit cards or other forms of debt. The good news is that there are treatments for gambling addiction, including counseling and support groups. Inpatient or residential treatment is also available for those who cannot stop gambling without around-the-clock support.

While most people gamble responsibly, a small group develops a serious problem known as gambling disorder. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth Edition), gambling disorder is described as “a persistent, recurrent pattern of gambling behavior that is characterized by increased amounts of money wagered, more time spent gambling, and negative consequences on family, work, and social life.”

The most important thing to remember when it comes to gambling is that it’s risky. There’s always a chance that you could lose everything, and this is particularly true for games of skill such as poker or horse racing. To avoid this, it’s a good idea to only gamble with disposable income and never with money that you need to pay bills or rent. Also, only gamble with a fixed amount of money that you can afford to lose, and don’t use your debit or credit card at the casino.

People who develop gambling disorders are more likely to be young and male, and they may have personality traits or coexisting mental health conditions that make it harder for them to control their impulses and manage their emotions. In addition, some communities view gambling as a normal pastime, which can make it difficult to recognize a problem and seek help.

A therapist can help you identify the underlying causes of your gambling problem and teach you healthy coping skills. Therapy can also be a great way to get support from other people who have struggled with the same issue, and help you rebuild your relationships. BetterHelp is an online service that matches you with licensed, accredited therapists for depression, anxiety, addiction, and more. Take our assessment and get matched with a therapist in as little as 48 hours.

Often, people who have trouble controlling their urges to gamble use the activity as a way to self-soothe unpleasant feelings or relieve boredom. You can learn to replace these behaviors with healthier ones such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or practicing relaxation techniques. It’s also important to understand that gambling is often accompanied by negative feelings, such as fear, guilt, and anxiety. These feelings can be exacerbated by stress, alcohol, or certain medications. It’s a good idea to practice positive coping strategies before you begin gambling. You can also try to minimize triggers by avoiding places where gambling is prevalent, like bars and casinos.

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