Gambling is the risking of money or something of value on an event whose outcome depends on chance, such as a sports game or a scratchcard. It is a fun and social activity for many people, but it can also cause harm. People gamble for a number of reasons, including the excitement of winning money, the desire to socialise and an escape from worries or stress. People who are at risk of developing a gambling problem should budget it as an expense, just like any other expenditure, and not treat it as a way to make money.
When you gamble, your brain releases a chemical called dopamine, which makes you feel pleasure. This is why it can be hard to quit, especially if you’re used to doing it regularly and it’s been a part of your life for a long time. But there are things you can try to help you overcome your addiction and start living a healthier lifestyle.
The first step is to recognise you have a problem. This can be difficult, especially if you’ve lost a lot of money or damaged relationships due to gambling. But it’s vital you take action – not only for your own health, but for the sake of those around you.
If you’re having trouble quitting, get help from a professional. There are a range of treatment options available, such as psychotherapy, which uses talk therapy with a mental health specialist. It can be helpful to explore the reasons behind your gambling habit, as well as addressing any underlying mental health issues.
You can find a therapist online with the world’s largest therapy service. You’ll be matched with a qualified, vetted therapist within 48 hours.
In the United States, there are several types of psychotherapy that can help treat gambling disorder. One type is called cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps you learn to identify and change unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. Another is psychodynamic therapy, which explores unconscious processes that influence your behavior. Finally, there’s group therapy, which provides motivation and moral support from other people with similar problems.
There are no medications that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat gambling disorder. But there are a variety of psychotherapies that may be helpful, such as psychodynamic therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and group therapy. You can also try self-help techniques, such as finding other ways to cope with stress and avoiding gambling websites.
It’s important to note that some people with gambling disorders can be at risk of suicide or suicidal thoughts. If this is a concern for you or someone you know, call 999 or visit A&E immediately.