Whether it’s at the casino, on the track or online, gambling can be fun, but it can also cause problems for you or someone close to you. Problem gambling is when your actions and decisions are not in line with your values or goals. It can impact your relationships and finances, causing serious problems for you and your family.
What Is Gambling?
Gambling is the risk of something of value for a chance of winning more money or something of value than you have risked. It includes any game that involves betting or wagering, such as horse races, lottery tickets, scratch cards and fruit machines.
Some games are based on probability or chance, while others involve skill or strategy. For example, a gambler might predict the outcome of a football match by comparing team performances with the odds set by the betting company.
Many people gamble for the excitement of winning and the possibility of a big payout. But they often don’t realize that there is an inherent risk, just like any other type of gambling.
If you think you have a gambling problem, it’s important to seek treatment. Getting help can make it easier to stop gambling and solve financial, work or relationship problems that may be related to your gambling habits.
Therapy is a great way to understand your gambling and its effects on your life. It can also help you develop healthy coping skills and make changes in your life that will prevent future problems.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for gambling addiction can help you learn to control unhealthy thoughts and behaviors related to your gambling habit. CBT can also teach you strategies to avoid triggers and overcome cravings.
Your doctor or therapist can diagnose your gambling addiction and recommend the best treatment for you. They can also offer guidance for managing your gambling and working with your family or friends to cope with the problem.
Restricting your gambling behavior and avoiding the temptation to spend more than you can afford is a great first step toward treating a gambling problem. This can include setting limits on your spending and finding alternative activities to fill your time.
Consider joining a support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous. This program is modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous and is a 12-step recovery program that helps people recover from gambling addiction.
Strengthen your support network, including family and friends. Joining a support group can give you the opportunity to meet new people and strengthen bonds with old ones.
Adolescents can be especially vulnerable to developing problem gambling. They are more susceptible to the harmful consequences of gambling, including financial loss and a negative impact on their social networks.
Some adolescents have trouble controlling their gambling and may not be able to stop once they start. They might lie about how much they spend on gambling or hide evidence of their activity.
If you suspect that your teen has a gambling problem, talk to them and their parents. They might be hesitant to discuss the issue, but it’s important to address the problem before it worsens. They might be willing to try medication or counseling if their parents agree.