How to Overcome a Gambling Addiction


Gambling involves betting money or anything else of value on an event whose outcome is determined by chance. It may involve a game of skill (like poker), a game of chance (like slot machines or keno), or both (like horse racing or lottery). In any case, the outcome is unpredictable and the risk is great. Many people enjoy gambling as a form of entertainment, but for some it becomes a serious problem. Those who become addicted to gambling can lose their money, jobs, homes and families. Some even end up in jail.

There are a variety of treatment options for gambling addiction, including family therapy and marriage, career, and credit counseling. These treatments can help you work through the specific issues caused by your gambling addiction and lay the foundation for repairing your relationships and finances. Additionally, it is important to seek support from a loved one or join a gambling support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous.

In recent years, there has been a move toward more biologically based treatments for gambling disorders. This new approach is based on the belief that gambling disorder is a result of neurobiological processes and not simply a matter of moral weakness or lack of willpower. Research has shown that some patients respond well to cognitive-behavior therapy, which teaches them to resist unwanted thoughts and behaviors. Another effective treatment is to seek out a therapist who specializes in treating addiction.

Like other consumer products, gambling is heavily advertised. Betting firms spend vast sums of money to convince punters that they have a good chance of winning money, even though, in the long run, most of them don’t.

The biggest step to overcoming a gambling addiction is admitting that you have a problem. It takes tremendous strength and courage to acknowledge that your gambling is out of control, especially if it has cost you a lot of money and strained or broken your relationships. You may also hide your gambling activity, lie about it to friends and family, or start hiding evidence of your gambling.

The best way to avoid gambling addiction is to only gamble with disposable income, and not money that you need for rent or bills. It is also important to set a time and money limit before you gamble, and never chase your losses. Remember that the odds of winning are always against you, so don’t get caught up in the idea that you’re due for a big win.