Gambling is when you risk money or something of value to predict the outcome of a game that involves chance, such as betting on football matches, scratchcards, casino games and more. The aim is to win more money than you lose, but many gamblers end up losing more than they expect. Gambling can be very addictive and can cause serious harm to your health and finances.
There are several reasons why people gambling, such as social reasons (playing card or board games with friends for small amounts of money), financial reasons (such as fantasizing about what they would do if they won the lottery) and entertainment reasons (thinking that the thrill of winning will make them feel good). While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to overcoming addiction to gambling, certain types of therapy may help. Psychological therapies, such as cognitive behaviour therapy, can address the logic behind gambling, including beliefs about luck and skill in non-skill-based games, and motivational and emotional issues that contribute to an individual’s desire to gamble.
A therapist can also recommend practical lifestyle changes to help someone break their gambling habit. This includes reducing financial risk factors, such as avoiding credit cards, keeping money in separate accounts and limiting the time spent at gambling venues. It is also important to find alternative ways to socialize, such as exercising, taking up a new hobby and spending more time with family and friends.
The first step in overcoming a gambling problem is admitting that there is a problem. This can be a difficult step, especially if the gambling has strained or broken relationships and caused significant financial loss. It is also helpful to talk about the issue with a trusted friend or family member. If you don’t have a support network, there are many peer support groups that can help. Some of these groups are modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous, and include a sponsor who has experience remaining free from gambling addiction.
Some individuals may benefit from family or marriage counselling to deal with the problems that have developed as a result of gambling. These issues can be complex and often require the expertise of a mental health professional to navigate. Other types of therapy that can be useful for those who have a gambling problem include psychodynamic therapy, which looks at unconscious processes that influence behavior, and group therapy. These sessions can help you rebuild your relationship and life after struggling with a gambling disorder.