Gambling is an activity where you risk money or belongings in exchange for a chance to win. It is an addiction that can be hard to recognize if you have it, but you can take steps to stop gambling and rebuild your life.
Identifying a Problem
Gambling disorder is a mental health problem that can affect an individual, their family and society. It is a form of impulse control disorder, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
There are many signs and symptoms that may indicate you have a gambling problem. For example, if you gamble after a stressful day at work or following an argument with your spouse, you may have a problem.
You need to learn to relieve unpleasant feelings in healthier ways, like spending time with friends who don’t gamble or trying new activities. If you have a problem, seek counseling.
Treatment can include behavior therapy, which teaches you to deal with cravings and resist unwanted thoughts and habits. Counseling can also help you understand how your gambling affects your life and your relationships.
Strengthen Your Support Network
Having a strong support system can make all the difference in overcoming a gambling addiction. Reach out to your family, friends and colleagues at work or in your community. Find a recovery program such as Gamblers Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous and find a sponsor who has experienced the same challenges you have.
Be aware of the “gambler’s fallacy.” This is the idea that you can get lucky again and recoup your losses by just playing more. This can lead to over-investing in your gambling and accumulating more and more debt.