Whether you gamble at the casino, the horse races, on the pokies or online, gambling is an activity where you risk something of value (like money) with the hope of winning a prize. While many people do gamble, for some the habit becomes problematic and can strain relationships and lead to financial disaster. The good news is that there are effective treatments available.
The first step in overcoming problem gambling is acknowledging that you have a problem. While this takes courage and strength, it can be the foundation for repairing damaged relationships and rebuilding your finances. Counseling can help you understand your gambling addiction and how it affects your life, consider options for change, and find ways to cope without gambling.
There are no FDA-approved medications for treating gambling disorders, but psychological and behavioral treatments can help manage your symptoms. Behavioral therapy can teach you new skills to control your urges and replace problem behaviors with healthy, productive activities. Psychotherapy can also address any underlying issues that may be contributing to your problem gambling, such as depression or anxiety.
When gambling, always start with a fixed amount of money that you can afford to lose and stick to it. This will keep you from spending more than you can afford to lose, and it will remind you that gambling is not a way to make money. Also, never chase your losses—trying to win back what you’ve lost is a sure way to end up losing even more.