Gambling is an activity where you risk money, usually in order to win a prize. It is often thought of as a way to unwind. However, it has a potentially addictive nature, and may be a sign of a mental disorder. You should consider all of your options before gambling.
If you think you are suffering from a gambling disorder, there are several ways to get help. For example, you can seek treatment in an inpatient rehab program, which is designed for people with serious gambling addictions. There are also support groups and counselors. You can join a recovery group, such as Gamblers Anonymous, to work through your issues.
Other resources include credit counseling, marriage counseling, and career counseling. A problem gambler is likely to be a good advocate for his or her financial needs, and often uses pleading, threatening, and manipulation to obtain money. In addition, family members and friends can be important sources of support. They will help you realize that you are not alone in your struggle.
In order to avoid developing a gambling disorder, you should set limits on how much you spend. Using a credit card or bank account should be discouraged, and you should have someone else manage your finances.
Getting information about the health effects of gambling is also helpful. However, there are no FDA-approved medications for treating gambling disorders. Instead, you can try exercise and relaxation techniques, or try a different form of entertainment.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) defines gambling as an “addictive behavior,” and it is categorized under other types of addictive behaviors. Gambling has been linked to mood disorders, and the more you gamble, the more you are prone to experiencing unpleasant emotions. When you are prone to mood disorders, it is even more difficult to stop gambling.
Symptoms of gambling addiction can include losing control, exhibiting behavioral changes, and displaying cognitive biases. It can be difficult to diagnose a gambling problem, but a gambling screen can provide you with some clues. Taking the screen will also help you focus on the effects of your gambling, instead of the behavior itself.
It is also important to realize that a gambling disorder is a complex disorder. Some criteria are easily recognized, while others may require some more time. Depending on the severity of the disorder, you can expect to see symptoms such as frequent relapses, withdrawal, and mood instability.
If you or a loved one has a gambling problem, it is best to seek help as soon as possible. Many state and local governments offer helplines and resources for people with gambling problems. To find a helpline in your area, check out the National Helpline at 1-866-662-HELP (4357).
Besides seeking treatment, you can take action to prevent relapse. This includes finding healthier activities to replace gambling, building a strong support network, and avoiding tempting environments.
Identifying and dealing with a gambling problem can be overwhelming. But, if you keep these tips in mind, it can be easier to make the necessary changes.