How to Overcome a Gambling Problem


While it’s tempting to use your credit card to gamble and win money, the temptation to keep on gambling is not only irrational, but also shameful. Fortunately, there are many ways to overcome the urge to gamble. You can make friends outside of the gambling world, enroll in a volunteer program, and even join a peer support group. Alternatively, you can join Gamblers Anonymous, a 12-step program modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous. You can also choose a sponsor, a former gambler who can give you guidance and advice.

Many people with a gambling problem also suffer from alcohol and drug problems. Some medications are linked to a higher risk of compulsive gambling. Some secondary addictions result from the negative emotions brought about by gambling, and some people never experience them. Gambling affects a person’s mood and state of mind, and they repeatedly engage in the behaviour to get the same effect. Gamblers also have cognitive and motivational biases, which influence their decisions.

While the urge to gamble is normal for some people, for others it is an addiction that can lead to serious consequences. While many people can control their urges to gamble, it can lead to financial ruin, relationships, and even depression and suicide. Gambling can affect people of any age, gender, and income level. No one is immune from the development of a gambling problem – even the most responsible person can fall victim to it. And while it may be embarrassing to admit to a gambling problem, there are ways to get help.

The mental health community has created criteria for determining whether someone has a problem with gambling. Many mental health practitioners use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which lists the disorder alongside other addictive behaviors. Identifying problem gambling with this criteria may prevent a gambler from progressing to the next stage of their addiction. This method also decreases resistance, and may lead to lifestyle inquiry that aims to treat the problem. For example, it may not be a mental illness at all, but it may help a person get help.

Gambling is an international activity that involves wagering on a specific event with the intention of receiving money or other material goods. Increasingly, state-operated and organized lotteries have become popular throughout Europe and the United States. Organized football pools are found in virtually every European country, several South American countries, Australia, and Africa. Other state-regulated sporting events are also permitted. While the gambling industry is legal in many countries, it is often illegal.

The underlying causes of compulsive gambling are complicated. Among them are biological, genetic, and environmental factors. People with this disorder are more likely to develop substance abuse and mental health problems. Furthermore, these individuals have higher odds of developing compulsive gambling. Some even have bipolar disorder and/or obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, compulsive gambling affects older adults as well. Therefore, there are numerous treatment options available for compulsive gamblers.