Gambling is a risky activity that involves placing money or something of value on the outcome of a game of chance. It is most often associated with games in brick-and-mortar casinos, but can also take place at sports events, racetracks, and online. People gamble for a variety of reasons, including to get an adrenaline rush, socialise with friends, or escape worries and stress. However, for some people, gambling can become an addiction and lead to problems with their finances, relationships, or work.
Many people who have a gambling problem can manage their addiction without treatment. But, for others, treatment is essential. Inpatient or residential treatment and rehab programs are available to help individuals overcome their gambling addiction. These programs provide round-the-clock care and support, and they can help individuals break the vicious cycle of gambling.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help people with gambling problems, as it looks at the beliefs they hold about betting. These may include believing that they are more likely to win than other players, that certain rituals will bring luck, or that they can recoup their losses by betting more. CBT can also address underlying mood disorders such as depression or anxiety, which can be triggered or made worse by compulsive gambling.
Other treatments that can be used to treat gambling problems include family therapy and marriage, career, and credit counselling. These can help individuals understand the problems that have been caused by their gambling and find ways to repair their relationships and their finances.
In order to overcome a gambling addiction, it is important to set a time limit for yourself when you’re gambling and stick to it. In addition, it’s a good idea to try and avoid betting on games that you don’t understand. This will prevent you from making illogical decisions and losing more money than you can afford to lose.
Another great way to stop gambling is to find other ways to get a thrill, such as exercising, spending time with loved ones, and volunteering. If you have trouble finding other activities that provide the same excitement, you can join a support group for gamblers, or seek professional help.
If you have a gambling addiction, it is important to recognise it and seek help immediately. Contact your local gambling helpline, or see a therapist for CBT. You can also make changes to your financial situation by removing your credit cards, asking someone else to be in charge of your money, closing down online betting accounts, and keeping only a small amount of cash on you. If you’re struggling to manage your finances, StepChange offer free and confidential debt advice. If you are feeling suicidal, call 999 or visit A&E immediately.