Get Help For a Gambling Addiction
Gambling is an activity where money or something of value is risked on the outcome of a random event. It can be considered an addiction when it negatively affects a person’s life and health, including their relationships, work, and financial security. The first step to overcoming a gambling problem is admitting you have one. It can take a lot of strength and courage, especially if your problem has cost you significant amounts of money or caused strained or broken family relationships. You can get help for a gambling addiction and rebuild your life.
Although the exact cause of a gambling addiction is not fully understood, it is likely related to how the brain processes reward and motivation. When an individual is addicted to gambling, they feel compelled to continue doing it even when they are experiencing negative consequences. This can lead to self-destructive behavior like lying, stealing or borrowing in order to fund their gambling addiction. It can also lead to substance use problems.
The most commonly used definition of a gambling disorder is that it causes harm to the gambler and those around them. This can include losing money, compromising relationships and finances, or being physically or emotionally harmed. This definition can be applied to any type of gambling, from buying lottery tickets or betting on sports events to playing online casino games or using the pokies.
A common sign of a gambling addiction is that the person lies to family members or therapists about how much they are gambling. They may also hide evidence of their gambling activities or try to justify it by blaming other things in their life. In severe cases, they may attempt to commit illegal acts like forgery or theft in order to finance their gambling habit.
Psychiatrists and other treatment providers generally agree that people with a gambling addiction should seek professional help. Many people who struggle with a gambling addiction have other underlying mood disorders such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder that can trigger or make compulsive gambling worse. In fact, recent research in neuroscience and genetics has demonstrated that the brain circuitry involved in gambling and drug addiction are more similar than previously thought.
A therapist can help you address the root causes of your gambling addiction and develop strategies to overcome it. They can help you learn healthier ways to manage your emotions, cope with boredom and loneliness, and relieve stress. They can also teach you to practice self-care, such as exercising, spending time with nongambling friends, or taking up a new hobby. In severe cases, a therapist can refer you to inpatient or residential programs for those who need round-the-clock care. They can also connect you with a support group like Gamblers Anonymous, which is based on the 12-step model of Alcoholics Anonymous.