How to Overcome a Gambling Problem


Gambling is an activity where a person risks money or something of value in a game or contest with a chance of winning money or another prize. It may include games like lottery, bingo, pull-tab games and scratchcards. It also includes betting on sports events and elections. Gambling is not just a recreational activity, it can be a serious problem for some people.

Problem gambling affects a person’s health and social relationships, as well as their work or school performance, finances and mental wellbeing. It is also a risk factor for substance abuse. The American Psychiatric Association classifies gambling disorder as a behavioral addiction. It is the only behavioral addiction that the DSM-5 recognizes and it is similar to substance use disorders in terms of effects on brain chemistry, withdrawal symptoms and comorbidity.

There are a number of strategies that can help someone overcome a gambling problem. Support groups can provide encouragement and advice, while cognitive-behavioral therapy helps change unhealthy thinking patterns. In some cases, a combination of these methods is needed to successfully treat a gambling addiction.

It is important to address any underlying mood conditions, such as depression, stress and anxiety, which can trigger or make worse gambling problems. These issues can continue to interfere with a person’s life even after they have stopped gambling. In addition, seeking help for these underlying mood problems will improve a person’s quality of life in general and can help prevent future gambling episodes.

Whether you are worried about your own gambling or the gambling of someone close to you, it is vital that you seek treatment as soon as possible. It can take a great deal of strength and courage to admit that you have a gambling problem, particularly when you have lost money or strained relationships as a result of your habit. However, there is hope for recovery, and many people have broken free from their gambling addictions.

Gambling can be addictive because it stimulates the reward center of the brain, similar to how drugs and alcohol do. When you gamble, your body produces dopamine, a chemical that makes you feel pleasure. This can lead to a cycle where you feel the urge to gamble in order to feel that pleasure again. It is important to find other ways to satisfy your cravings for pleasure.

It is also crucial to have a strong support network and to have other activities that can divert your attention away from gambling. If you are struggling with a gambling addiction, you can find therapists that specialize in this issue through BetterHelp, an online counseling service that matches you with a therapist who is right for your needs. This way, you can get the help you need to overcome your gambling addiction and build a stronger, more balanced life. To get started, simply take our assessment and we’ll match you with a therapist within 48 hours. If you are unable to wait that long, call your local helpline or attend a gambling support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous.