Dealing With Gambling Addiction


Gambling is when you stake something of value, like money, on an event involving chance – it could be placing a bet on a football match or playing a scratchcard. You can gamble in casinos, sports events, arcades, on the internet and even at church halls. There are three elements to gambling: consideration, risk and a prize. It can be a form of entertainment, a way to make money and also a maladaptive coping mechanism for those struggling with depression or stress.

People with gambling problems often struggle to recognize their addiction and might deny it. Their relationships might suffer as a result, particularly if they are relying on others to bail them out of financial troubles. They may also become argumentative, especially when their loved ones express concerns. This is because they might believe that their family’s beliefs or values are influencing how they see gambling activity and what constitutes a problem.

If you have a friend or family member who is struggling with a gambling addiction, it is important to talk to them about your worries. Try to do this in a private space and without distractions. Be honest and reassure them that you do not judge them and that you care about them. Suggest that they seek help for their gambling problem. You might even offer to go with them to a counselor, so that they feel supported.

It is not unusual for people to turn to gambling as a means of self-medication or as a way to cope with stress or depression. This is because gambling is an activity that triggers the reward circuit in the brain and releases dopamine. This is similar to the response triggered by drugs.

The good news is that there are many treatment options available for those who have a gambling disorder. These include cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy. These treatments teach you how to change your thoughts and actions so that you can overcome your addiction.

It is also a good idea to find ways to replace gambling behaviors with healthy coping mechanisms. These might include volunteering, journaling and doing things you enjoy to reduce your stress levels. You can also practice mindfulness and meditation to improve your emotional resilience. Try to avoid negative thoughts, which can lead to a relapse, and focus on the positives in your life. For example, try writing a list of all the things you are grateful for each day to boost positivity and increase your happiness. This will help you to avoid risky gambling behavior and move away from unhealthy coping mechanisms for good.