How to Overcome a Gambling Disorder


Gambling involves placing something of value on an event that is unpredictable, like the roll of a dice or the spin of a roulette wheel. It can include betting on the outcome of a game of chance, whether it’s a horse race, football match or lottery draw.

Although most people who gamble do so without problems, a significant subset develop gambling disorder, which is defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth Edition) as “a recurrent pattern of gambling that is associated with substantial distress or impairment.” The behavior can cause emotional and physical damage.

The first step in solving a gambling problem is acknowledging that you have one. It can be hard to do, especially if your addiction has cost you money and hurt your relationships. But don’t give up hope – many people have successfully overcome their gambling issues.

Talking to a professional counsellor about your problem is a good place to start. There are a number of ways you can do this, including through BetterHelp. It’s an online service that matches you with a therapist who has the right skills and experience to help with your gambling problem. You can take a free assessment and get started with your session in as little as 48 hours.

Another way to help control your gambling is to only carry cash with you when you go out. This will help prevent you from spending more than you have, and it will also stop you from putting your cash in the wrong places. Another way to limit your gambling is to put a set amount of money aside for each day you plan to be at the casino, and then only use that money.

Lastly, try to socialise with friends in other ways so that you’re not spending time at casinos. It’s possible to make new friends in all sorts of ways, such as by joining a sports team or book club, taking an education class or volunteering for a charity. These activities will help you avoid gambling and build a stronger support network for yourself.

Finally, seek out a peer support group for gamblers. These groups can be a great way to find encouragement and guidance from people who have successfully overcome their gambling addictions, and you’ll be able to learn from others’ experiences. The most popular of these is Gamblers Anonymous, which follows a 12-step recovery program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. There are also more specialised services, such as family therapy and marriage, career and credit counseling, that can help you work through specific issues related to your gambling. These services can help you reclaim your life from gambling and rebuild your relationships and finances.

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