Posted on

How to Overcome a Gambling Disorder


Gambling is a form of risk-taking in which individuals wager something of value on an event with an element of randomness and the objective of winning. It can include betting on sports, horse and greyhound races, football accumulators or other events, lottery games, instant scratch cards and raffles, as well as speculation on business, insurance and stock markets. It is an activity that can be addictive and may even lead to mental health issues such as depression. The vast majority of people who gamble do not suffer from a gambling disorder but some do, and there are a variety of ways that they can be helped to overcome their addiction.

Gamblers who are unable to control their gambling can find themselves hiding their behavior from family and friends, or lying about how much they gamble. They may also be secretive about their gambling habits and compelled to continue gambling, even after they have lost all their money. These behaviors are characteristic of a gambling disorder, and they can have many negative effects on the person’s life.

For some, the compulsion to gamble is due to a genetic predisposition toward thrill-seeking and impulsive behaviour. Others have trouble weighing risks and rewards, or have an underactive reward system in their brain. Research suggests that certain medications can help some gamblers to manage their impulsiveness and risk-taking behaviour, and the use of psychotherapy can also be helpful for those with a gambling disorder.

The biggest step in the recovery process is acknowledging that a problem exists, which can be difficult for some. It is even more difficult for those whose gambling has led to financial disaster and damaged their relationships with family and friends. There is a wide range of effective treatment options for people with gambling disorders, including psychotherapy, group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous.

If you are concerned that someone you know has a gambling disorder, encourage them to seek treatment and support them through their journey. Be careful not to judge them harshly or make them feel ashamed of their addiction, because it is not their fault. People with a gambling disorder come from all backgrounds and are of every age, gender, race, religion, education and income level. They can live in small towns or big cities and be rich or poor.

The key to breaking the cycle of addiction is to strengthen one’s support network. Try to get together with family and friends more often, take up a hobby or sport that you have always wanted to try, or volunteer for a charity. Joining a peer support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous, can also be an excellent way to gain valuable advice and encouragement from other people who have successfully overcome their gambling problems. You can also try BetterHelp, an online therapy service that matches you with licensed, accredited therapists who can help you work through your problems and rebuild healthy relationships.