How to Overcome a Gambling Addiction

Gambling involves betting something of value on an event that is determined at least in part by chance with the hope that you will win and gain something else of value. It can take many forms: from placing a bet on a football team to buying a scratchcard. No form of gambling is more addictive than another, and all can cause problems if a person becomes addicted.

People can develop a problem with gambling in any age group and from all walks of life. It is thought that genetics, environment and lifestyle are all factors in whether someone will develop a gambling addiction. People who have other mental health issues are also at greater risk of developing a gambling problem.

Although some people can gamble responsibly and without harm, others find it hard to control their behaviour and lose control. Some people try to conceal their gambling habits from family and friends, hiding money or lying about how much they spend. Some may even try to’reduce their losses’ by taking out loans, credit cards or running up bills on online betting sites.

It is important to recognise the warning signs of gambling addiction and be willing to ask for help. Seeking treatment is the first step to recovery, and it’s not uncommon for people with an addiction to gambling to have other co-existing conditions such as depression or bipolar disorder.

Research by the Behavior analysis and therapy program at Southern Illinois University has shown that gambling does not necessarily lead to happiness, and that some people feel happier when they don’t gamble. However, some studies have shown that gambling can positively affect mood, increase enjoyment and satisfaction, and lower levels of stress and anxiety.

In addition, it can be a way to socialise with friends and meet new people. It is also a great way to keep the brain stimulated through learning new skills, which can improve memory and thinking abilities.

A good way to reduce the temptation to gamble is by limiting access to your money. You can do this by getting rid of your credit cards, having somebody else in charge of your finances, closing your online betting accounts and only keeping a small amount of cash on you at all times. Another helpful tool is to stop visiting places where gambling is available, and start to think of other ways to enjoy yourself – for example, going to an art gallery or watching a comedy show instead of heading to the casino.

Trying to overcome a gambling addiction can be tough, but it is possible with the right support. Reach out to friends and family, join a book club or sports team, attend an education class, volunteer your time, or get involved with a peer support group such as Gamblers Anonymous. This is a 12-step programme based on Alcoholics Anonymous, which is designed to help you recover from gambling addiction. It is possible to find a sponsor who has experience with overcoming gambling addiction, and they can offer guidance and support.