Gambling is a popular pastime and social activity that has been enjoyed for centuries. It has also been outlawed or suppressed in many places for a long time, but today more and more people are engaging in it as the availability of gambling has expanded. However, it’s not a harmless hobby and can lead to addiction for some. The most important thing to remember is that if you are experiencing problems with gambling, there are ways to get help. Here are some things you can try:
Seek treatment. There are several psychotherapies that can help you deal with your problem, including cognitive-behavioral therapy and psychodynamic therapy. Psychodynamic therapy focuses on unconscious processes and can help you gain more self-awareness about what drives your behavior. Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches you how to challenge irrational beliefs and habits. If you struggle with gambling addiction, you may find it helpful to join a group support program like Gamblers Anonymous. This 12-step recovery program is based on the same model as Alcoholics Anonymous and can be a valuable resource in helping you recover from your addiction.
Identify your triggers. Gambling is often triggered by unpleasant feelings, such as boredom, loneliness, or stress. You might also gamble as a way to self-soothe negative emotions or escape from stressful situations. Try to recognize what causes you to feel these emotions and find healthier ways to relieve them, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or taking up a new hobby.
Talk to someone you trust. It can be helpful to discuss your gambling problems with a friend or professional counsellor. They can provide you with a safe space to talk about your issues and give you the tools you need to overcome them. They can also teach you techniques to manage your mood and stress levels more effectively, which will reduce your need to gamble.
Consider a gambling-related economic impact study. These studies provide a balanced perspective of the costs and benefits of gambling. They typically focus on the identification and quantification of benefits, with a lesser emphasis on costs (see Fahrenkopf 1995).
It’s not easy to admit you have a problem with gambling, especially if it has cost you money or strained your relationships. But, by realizing you have a problem and seeking help, you can take steps to break the cycle and live a happy life. If you’re ready to take the first step towards overcoming your gambling addiction, BetterHelp is an online therapy service that can match you with a licensed therapist. Take our assessment, and you could be matched with a therapist in as little as 48 hours. Start your journey to a happier, more fulfilling life today. The most important thing to remember is that you’re not alone – many others have struggled with this issue and were able to stop gambling, rebuild their lives, and become successful again. Good luck!