How to Get Help For Gambling Addiction


Gambling involves a voluntary assumption of risk with the possibility of losing money. It can be done in many ways, from buying a lottery ticket to placing a bet on a sporting event. While gambling can be a fun and enjoyable pastime, it is important to recognize when it becomes harmful to your mental health. If you are spending more than you can afford to lose, borrowing money to gamble or feeling anxious about gambling then you may have a problem.

While the exact causes of gambling problems aren’t fully understood, some researchers have compared them to substance abuse and found high rates of comorbidity. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition) has classified pathological gambling as an addictive disorder, and it is important to know the signs and symptoms.

The first step in getting help for gambling addiction is admitting you have a problem. This can be difficult, especially if you have lost a lot of money or have strained relationships with family and friends due to your gambling. However, it is important to remember that you are not alone and there is help available for anyone who wants it.

A key part of the recovery process for gambling addiction is changing your behavior and thinking patterns. One way to do this is through cognitive-behavior therapy, which teaches you to challenge unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. For example, you can learn to avoid irrational beliefs such as the Gambler’s Fallacy, which is the mistaken belief that because an outcome has occurred more frequently in the past it will happen again.

It’s also important to make changes in your environment and lifestyle to prevent relapse. You should try to surround yourself with people who support you and avoid environments that are tempting. This might mean avoiding online gambling websites or staying away from your favorite casino. You can also find new social activities that don’t involve gambling, such as volunteering, joining a book club, sports team or exercise class.

The most effective treatment for gambling addiction is psychotherapy, or talk therapy. This is a form of counseling that helps you identify and change negative emotions and thoughts, and it can be done in person or over the phone. There are many different types of psychotherapy, and you can choose a therapist who is best suited to your needs. You can also get help from a peer support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is similar to Alcoholics Anonymous and can help you stay on track with your recovery. It is important to seek help early, because it can be difficult to recover from a gambling addiction once you start gambling again. In fact, it can take up to 10 years for some people to completely recover from a gambling addiction. If you need help, get in touch with a therapist today by using our online search tool to find a vetted, licensed and professional therapist in your area.