Gambling is an activity in which people risk something of value – money, possessions or even their lives – on events that are determined by chance. This could mean betting on a football match or buying a scratchcard. It is important to remember that gambling can occur in many different places and forms, from casinos and horse races to online gaming and office pool contests. The first step to beating a gambling addiction is admitting that there is a problem. This can be difficult, especially if the problem has cost you money and strained or broken relationships. However, there are a variety of treatment and support programs available for those who struggle with this addiction.
A therapist can help you identify the triggers that cause you to gamble. This may include examining your financial, career and family relationships. Therapy can also teach you new coping mechanisms and how to manage your finances. One example is learning to recognize irrational beliefs about gambling, such as thinking that losing one hand of blackjack means the next will be a winner.
Some people are able to gamble responsibly, but others develop an addiction and end up gambling away their homes, their livelihoods and their futures. Symptoms of an addiction to gambling include spending more and more time on gambling activities, losing control over how much they gamble and making repeated unsuccessful attempts to cut back or stop. In addition, a person suffering from a gambling addiction might feel restless or irritable when they try to reduce their gambling activity.
Those with a gambling problem may find relief by attending an inpatient or residential treatment program. These programs can provide a safe, secure and drug-free environment in which to work on the underlying issues that cause the addiction. These treatment programs typically combine a combination of therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and family therapy, in order to address both the emotional and the psychological aspects of gambling addiction.
Another way to deal with a gambling problem is to strengthen your support network. This can be done by reaching out to friends and family or by joining a support group. A common support group is Gamblers Anonymous, which follows a 12-step recovery program that is similar to Alcoholics Anonymous.
Having someone to talk to about your struggles with gambling is a great way to keep yourself accountable and avoid slipping into old habits. If you need help with a gambling addiction, contact a counselor today. You can get matched with an experienced, licensed therapist in less than 48 hours. Our services are free, confidential and available 24/7.