How to Overcome Gambling Addiction

For some people, gambling can be a fun and exciting pastime, but for others, it can have serious negative effects on their physical and mental health, personal relationships, work or studies, or even leave them in crippling debt. If you or someone you know suffers from gambling addiction, there are various ways that they can seek help and get back to normal.

Gambling is the wagering of something of value on a random event, where instances of strategy are discounted. It can also be considered as the risking of money or property on games involving chance, such as scratchcards and fruit machines. The psychological and emotional problems that can arise from gambling include social isolation, depression, substance abuse, anxiety and stress, and feelings of hopelessness or powerlessness. It can also affect family members by causing them to feel guilty, angry or depressed, and by contributing to financial difficulties.

It is believed that some individuals become addicted to gambling due to genetic predispositions and chemical changes in the brain, similar to those caused by alcohol and certain drugs. This makes them particularly susceptible to the euphoria that can be experienced by winning, and they have difficulty controlling their impulses. They may also feel the need to keep gambling secretively, or lie about their spending, believing that they will eventually surprise others with a big win.

Another reason that many individuals continue to gamble is because they can feel an immediate sense of pleasure and well-being, especially when they first place a bet and win. However, this feeling can quickly turn into an overwhelming obsession if the individual starts to lose more than they win. They can feel frustrated with their inability to control the outcome of a game, and they might even try to change the rules or other factors of the game to gain more control.

In addition, people who are addicted to gambling tend to have irrational beliefs that they can change their luck by taking risks or by using certain strategies. For example, they may believe that a particular pattern of dice throwing or sitting in a specific location will lead to more wins, or that a certain item of clothing will bring them good luck.

Those who have a problem with gambling may be able to seek out professional help through a variety of services, including group therapy and cognitive-behaviour therapies, to overcome their addiction. It is also possible to arrange family therapy or marriage, career and credit counselling, which can help address the issues that can arise from a gambling addiction and lay the foundations for a healthy lifestyle. These counselling services are available from many local and national charities, and a number of private organisations that specialise in providing these types of treatments. In some cases, these services are free of charge for those who need them. In other cases, the therapists may require a small fee to cover administrative costs. This is a very common practice, and is standard within the treatment industry.