Recovering From Gambling Disorders

Gambling is any game of chance or skill in which people stake something of value in the hope of winning a prize. It can take many forms, from rolling dice to playing cards to betting on horse races or sporting events. People who gamble can find themselves putting money or possessions on the line, as well as risking family relationships and their livelihood. Problem gambling can also be expensive and difficult to stop. It can damage physical and mental health, interfere with work or study, lead to substance abuse, strain families and cause severe debt and homelessness.

Some people may start to gamble as a way of self-soothing unpleasant feelings, such as boredom or loneliness. They can also be influenced by the media, which portrays gambling as fun and glamorous. Others may gamble because of a desire to socialize with friends, or as a distraction from financial problems. Some research suggests that there are genetic factors that make people more likely to develop a gambling addiction. These include an underactive brain reward system and impulsivity.

A person with a gambling disorder can become trapped in the cycle of spending more and more money to try and feel better, which only leads to more losses. There is no approved medication for the treatment of a gambling disorder, but there are counseling services that can help. Individual, group and family therapy can be helpful, as can support groups like Gam-Anon. Counseling can help people learn healthier ways of dealing with their problems and set limits on their gambling.

The first step in recovering from a gambling disorder is admitting that there’s a problem. This can be hard for someone who has been hiding their problem for a long time. They may have lied to friends and family about their gambling, or even lied to themselves. They may think that their gambling is OK, or they may be worried about how it will affect their children or spouse.

It can be easier to admit a gambling problem to family members than it is to admit it to professionals. However, it is important to do so. Seek professional help if you have a gambling problem, especially if it is affecting your family or finances. There are many services that can offer assistance, including financial and credit counseling, family therapy and marriage and relationship counseling. You can also get help from online therapy service BetterHelp, which matches you with a counselor who specializes in addictions, depression and anxiety. You can get a free assessment and be matched with a therapist in as little as 48 hours. The sooner you seek help, the sooner your life can start to recover.