How to Get Help For a Gambling Disorder


Gambling involves placing something of value at risk on an event with an element of chance and the potential to win a prize. Some people become addicted to gambling and it can have serious consequences. Some people have to seek help for a gambling disorder and there are several types of treatment available.

The first step to recovery is reaching out for support. It can be challenging to cope with a loved one who has a problem with gambling, especially if the person is putting your financial well-being at risk. Consider speaking with a counselor who has experience helping families deal with gambling addiction, or join a support group for gamblers. Gamblers Anonymous is a 12-step program modelled after Alcoholics Anonymous that can help you find a sponsor who has successfully overcome a gambling addiction and guide you through the process.

If you do decide to try gambling, make sure you only use money that you can afford to lose. It is also important to set time and money limits for yourself, and never chase your losses. A good way to do this is to allocate a portion of your income to gambling and stick to it, even if you do happen to win. It is very easy to get caught up in the excitement of a casino and spend more money than you intended.

It is common for gambling to be a form of self-soothing for unpleasant feelings, such as loneliness or boredom. However, there are healthier ways to relieve these emotions, such as exercise, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, taking up a new hobby, or practicing relaxation techniques.

Another way to combat gambling urges is to learn the odds of different games and understand how the house edge works. There are many ways to reduce the house edge, including playing games with the lowest house advantage, using betting strategies, and choosing casinos with low payout percentages. It is also best to play on weekdays when the casino is less crowded and you are more likely to hit the jackpot.

The most effective treatments for gambling disorders are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, and family therapy. In addition, some medications have been shown to be helpful for some people. Medications used to treat pathological gambling are generally more effective when combined with therapy.

There are a number of risk factors that can contribute to developing a gambling disorder, including a history of trauma, social inequality, and depression. Symptoms can start in adolescence or later in life and can be very difficult to control. Approximately 1 in 10 people with gambling disorders receive any type of treatment. Research is needed to understand how the disorder develops and what is causing it, as well as to identify what interventions work best for different people. The best way to conduct this research is through longitudinal studies. This type of study allows researchers to examine both the antecedents and consequences of gambling participation over a long period of time.