Recovering From Gambling Addiction


Gambling involves putting something of value (a bet) on an event that is determined primarily by chance. The event can be a sporting event, a lottery drawing, or even a game of cards. The stakes of a gamble are usually money, although other materials can be used. In a game of cards, for example, players wager small discs called ‘coins’ or trading cards with the hope of winning more valuable ones. Gambling is a very common activity and has become a major international business.

While many people enjoy gambling as an entertainment activity, a small group of individuals become so seriously involved that they risk significant personal, social and financial consequences. Known as problem gamblers, these individuals are often attracted to fantasy and wealth, and find it difficult to control their gambling habits. They may experience serious problems with family, work and finances. Some may even resort to crime or alcohol and drug addiction. There are several effective treatments for gambling addiction, including medication and therapy.

Some factors that contribute to a person’s gambling behavior include a: (1) lack of self-control; (2) a desire for instant gratification; (3) an inability to delay gratification; and (4) excessive preoccupation with the outcome of a particular event. Those with gambling disorders often experience denial, shame, guilt and anxiety. They frequently lie to friends and family members, therapists, and employers to hide their involvement in gambling, and they may be influenced by peer pressure. Many gambling problems arise from an underlying mental health issue, such as depression or anxiety.

The first step in recovering from a gambling problem is to seek help. Those who are experiencing trouble should contact local and national services that offer treatment, support and counselling to problem gamblers. In addition, they should also get involved in other activities that can be enjoyable and rewarding, such as taking up a hobby or socialising with new friends. Some studies have shown that physical activity can help to reduce a person’s cravings for gambling.

Those who have a problem with gambling can also benefit from reducing the amount of money they spend on gambling. They should put a limit on how much they can gamble per day, and they should keep the money they set aside in a separate envelope. This can help them to avoid spending more than they have planned, and it will also encourage them to make wiser choices about the types of games they play. Another important tip is to join a support group for problem gamblers. These groups use peer support to help members overcome their gambling disorder. Some of these groups are based on the 12-step model that is used by Alcoholics Anonymous. They may also have specific strategies to help their members control their gambling habits. These groups are available in most states. In some cases, these services are free of charge for those who qualify.