How to Deal With a Gambling Problem
Gambling is an activity in which people risk something of value for the chance to win more than they have risked. This can be money, or other goods such as a car or house. It is a common pastime, but it can also be a problem.
A person can become addicted to gambling if they lose control over their spending habits, especially if it takes precedence over other aspects of their life. This is called a gambling disorder. The disorder is a type of addiction and can be treated with therapy.
Symptoms of a gambling problem include:
The first step to treating a problem gambler is to set boundaries in their finances. This will ensure that they remain accountable for their spending and prevent relapse. It may be a good idea to take over their family finances, or to close their online betting accounts.
Set a time limit: It’s important to decide how long you will gamble and stick to it. This will help you to avoid chasing losses and will make it easier to stop when it’s time to.
Be aware of your urges: The urges to gamble can be strong and may be triggered by depression, stress, or substance abuse. Taking a break from gambling when you’re feeling this way will give you the opportunity to work through these issues.
Strengthen your support network: If you have a strong network of friends and family, it’s easier to resist gambling temptations. This can include reaching out to them for support and joining a peer support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous.
Learn to control your urges: One of the most effective ways to treat a gambling problem is to practice coping skills, such as relaxation exercises. These will help you to cope with feelings of stress, tension and anxiety that are often associated with gambling.
Refrain from chasing lost money: This is one of the most common mistakes that problem gamblers make, and it can lead to further losses. It is better to stick with your money limit and leave when you’ve reached it, rather than attempting to win back what you’ve lost.
Do not gamble on credit: This is another common mistake that problem gamblers make, and it is a sign of poor money management. It’s best to avoid gambling with credit, and it’s also a good idea to keep only a limited amount of cash on hand.
Consider a doctor’s opinion: Many mental health professionals use a set of criteria to diagnose a gambling disorder, and the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) lists gambling disorder alongside other addictive behaviors.
Seek treatment for underlying mood disorders: The symptoms of a gambling problem can be made worse by a depression, stress or substance abuse issue. These problems can trigger an urge to gamble and be made even worse by compulsive gambling.
Be sure to seek help from a professional: You can ask for a referral for a therapist or psychiatrist. These professionals can provide you with the treatment you need to get back on track and stay that way.