How to Overcome a Gambling Disorder


Gambling involves betting something of value, usually money, on an uncertain outcome based on chance. It can take many forms, including placing a bet on sports events or horse races, playing video games with virtual currency or real cash, and even online casinos and lotteries. It’s an addictive activity that can cause serious financial and social problems if not managed properly. It can also have negative effects on a person’s mental health.

Research suggests that people with gambling disorder can experience a range of symptoms, including persistent and recurrent urges to gamble, difficulty stopping gambling even when it causes problems, lying to family members or friends, and spending more time on gambling than on other activities. The compulsion to gamble often starts during adolescence or early adulthood, and it’s more common in men than in women. Moreover, people with pathological gambling tend to report a greater number of problems when they engage in strategic, face-to-face types of gambling (like blackjack or poker) than with nonstrategic, less interpersonally interactive forms of gambling such as slot machines.

People who suffer from a gambling addiction can develop problems in all areas of their life, such as work, school, and relationships. In addition, some people who struggle with gambling disorder may have other underlying mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, which can trigger or make worse a gambling problem.

The first step in overcoming a gambling addiction is admitting that you have a problem. It can be a difficult step, especially if you’ve lost a lot of money or strained or broken your relationships because of your gambling habits. It’s also important to get help, whether through support groups like Gamblers Anonymous or by seeking treatment from a mental health professional.

Therapy can help you identify and change unhealthy behaviors, thoughts, and emotions that contribute to your gambling problems. Several types of psychotherapy are effective for treating gambling disorder, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing. CBT helps you learn to recognize and resist irrational beliefs that lead to problematic gambling, such as the belief that you’ll win big if you continue to play. Motivational interviewing focuses on helping you overcome your uncertainty about changing your gambling behavior by analyzing your current behavior and comparing it with the behaviors of healthy people who don’t gamble.

In addition to therapy, you can also try relaxation techniques or spend time with supportive friends who don’t gamble. Additionally, you can participate in physical activities that promote well-being or find healthier ways to relieve boredom and stress. You can also talk to your doctor about addressing any mood disorders that might be contributing to your gambling disorder. Lastly, don’t forget to ask your doctor about the legality of gambling in your country or region.