Recognizing Gambling Disorders

Gambling is a form of recreation that involves risking something of value on an event that is largely determined by chance in the hopes of realizing a profit. It has existed in virtually every society since prerecorded history and is incorporated into many local customs and rites of passage. While most people gamble responsibly, some are prone to overindulge and incur debts that impair their ability to support themselves or their families. Some are even driven to pathological gambling. In order to recognize if you are a gambler with a problem, consider the following.

Those who are addicted to gambling experience a range of negative personal, financial, family and social effects. These effects often lead to a variety of other problems and addictions, including alcoholism, drug abuse, and depression. Those with a problem gambling disorder must seek help in order to overcome their habit and restore their lives. In addition to treatment programs, there are a variety of self-help tools available to assist in stopping gambling behavior.

In addition to preventing gambling addiction, the best way to combat it is to strengthen your support network and find new ways to spend your time. For example, you can join a book club, sports team, community volunteer project or educational class to meet new friends and have fun. You can also find solace in peer support groups like Gamblers Anonymous, which follows a 12-step program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous and is centered around finding a sponsor who has remained free of gambling for a long period of time.

The first step in treating a gambling disorder is admitting that you have a problem. This can be extremely difficult, especially if you’ve lost a lot of money and strained or broken relationships because of the habit. It’s also important to seek professional therapy for any underlying mood disorders that may be contributing to or making the problem worse.

Many people who have a gambling problem hide their activity or lie about it, afraid that others won’t understand and fearing the guilt that might come with admitting to the addiction. Some may even be secretive about their gambling, spending large amounts of money in private or trying to hide evidence of their activities.

A gambling addiction can be devastating to a person’s health and well-being. It is critical to receive the proper care and support you need to overcome it. Those who have difficulty controlling their urges should seek therapy from a licensed, accredited therapist. BetterHelp can match you with a therapist that is right for your needs and preferences. Take our free assessment and get matched in as little as 48 hours. Start the journey to recovery today!