Managing Gambling Disorders


Gambling is an activity in which people risk something of value, such as money or possessions, on an event involving some element of chance. Examples include playing card games, fruit machines, betting on horse or greyhound races, football accumulators and casino table games. Depending on how much is at stake, gambling can be enjoyable or cause problems. It can harm relationships, health and performance at work or study, and lead to debt and even homelessness. It can also make people feel depressed or anxious. People gamble for a variety of reasons, including the desire for an adrenaline rush, the need to socialise or to escape from stress.

Many people who gamble don’t realise they have a problem until it is too late. When that happens, it can be difficult to change their behaviour. They may try to hide how much time and money they are spending on gambling or lie about it. They might also become secretive, avoiding friends and family, putting aside work or other activities. They might start drinking or taking drugs, or even considering suicide. Those closest to them can also be affected by the person’s addiction and are at risk of harming their own mental health.

There are no FDA-approved medications to treat gambling disorders, but there is a range of psychotherapies that can help. These therapies are designed to teach you to identify and change unhealthy emotions, thoughts and behaviors. They can be done individually or with a group. They are usually led by a trained mental health professional, such as a psychologist or social worker. Examples of psychotherapies that can help with gambling disorders are cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and interpersonal therapy.

Managing gambling disorder can be difficult, but it is possible to stop. It’s important to set limits and stick to them. It’s also important to find other ways to spend your time and to address any underlying mood conditions, such as depression or anxiety, that may be contributing to your gambling behavior. In addition, be sure to only ever gamble with disposable income and not with money that you need for paying bills or buying food.

It’s also helpful to seek support from others. Joining a gambling support group is an excellent way to get help and advice from others who have experienced similar issues. A common type of gambling support group is a 12-step program, similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. Having a sponsor, a former gambler with experience of remaining free from gambling, is a key part of this recovery process. You can also find support through psychotherapy or counselling, which are available from private therapists and some local councils. Family and marriage counseling can also help with the specific issues caused by gambling, and lay a foundation for healthy relationships. This is especially useful if your loved one has been struggling with addiction for a long time and you are concerned about their mental health. It’s important to remember that your loved one didn’t choose to be a gambler, and it’s unlikely they did it on purpose.

By admin
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