How to Overcome a Gambling Problem


Gambling is an activity that involves wagering something of value on a random event with the intention of winning something else of value. It can also be considered a game of chance, where instances of strategy are discounted. People often gamble to experience thrills and excitement, or to socialize with friends. However, gambling can have a number of negative effects, including addiction and damage to relationships. It can also cause financial problems, including debt and homelessness.

Approximately 2 million American adults (about 1% of the population) meet the criteria for gambling disorder, which is defined as an intense urge to gamble that interferes with daily life and causes serious impairment. People with this condition may find it difficult to stop gambling even after they have lost money or their lives have been negatively impacted by the behavior.

In addition, those with gambling disorder are more likely to experience other mood disorders, such as depression or anxiety, which can make it harder to control their spending and may lead them to hide evidence of their behavior from others.

It is possible to manage a gambling problem with help from professionals and support groups. Some people choose to seek treatment in an inpatient or residential program, which can offer round-the-clock care and assistance with relapse prevention. However, for those who prefer a more gradual approach to overcoming a gambling habit, there are several things they can do to help themselves. These include:

Educate yourself about the risks of gambling. There are a variety of online resources that provide information about the risks, rewards and consequences of gambling, as well as tips for playing responsibly.

Consider putting aside money specifically for entertainment and not using it for essentials like food or rent. Having these funds available can help ensure that you don’t get carried away with your desire to win.

Know when to walk away. It can be hard to tell when gambling is out of control, but you can recognise the warning signs by paying attention to your mood, the amount of time you spend on gaming and how much money you’re losing. You can also increase your focus by taking regular breaks and not playing or betting when you’re tired or stressed.

Learn how to set limits on your computer use to prevent the temptation of gambling sites and apps. Try software like Bet Blocker or GamBan to limit your access and keep you focused.

It’s important to surround yourself with a strong support network and stay connected with other positive people in your life, especially if you have an addictive personality. You can join a book club, sports team, or reading group, take an education class, or volunteer for a good cause to build new friendships. You can also reach out to a peer support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is based on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous.