Dealing With Gambling Addiction


Gambling is an activity in which you place a bet on the outcome of a game or event, such as a football match or a scratchcard. You choose a team or event and the amount you wish to bet and then your choices are matched to the odds that are set by the gambling company, which determine how much you can win or lose. It’s important to remember that gambling is an activity that involves risk and can lead to problems, such as addiction. Problem gambling can affect your health and relationships, impact your performance at work or school, cause financial difficulties and even result in legal action. It’s important to understand the signs of a gambling problem and seek help if you feel concerned that your gambling is out of control.

Whether you’re thinking of trying your luck at the roulette table or placing a bet on a horse race, gambling can trigger many different emotions. Some of these include the pleasure of winning, the sense of accomplishment and euphoria, as well as the feeling of excitement that comes from the brain’s natural reward system. The excitement and euphoria can be addictive, and it’s important to know when you’re feeling too excited or stressed to gamble safely.

There are also negative side effects to gambling, including a loss of self-control and the ability to think rationally. Depending on the type of gambling, you may become depressed or anxious, and some people have reported feelings of helplessness and guilt. Problem gambling can also have serious consequences for family members, friends and co-workers, and can cause severe financial strain.

Although the social costs associated with pathological gambling are real, some of them are indirect, meaning they can’t be measured in dollars. For example, if someone takes out a loan or credit card to finance their gambling habits, the incremental debt they incur represents a redistribution of wealth from one group to another that will ultimately be paid back, but it can’t be quantified in an economic impact study.

It’s tough to cope with a loved one with gambling addiction, especially when they begin hiding their spending or lying about it. You can offer support by encouraging them to join a peer-support program such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous. You can also encourage them to develop healthy coping mechanisms, such as exercise, spending time with friends who don’t gamble and practicing relaxation techniques. In some cases, you may need to take over management of your loved one’s finances to help them stay on track and avoid relapse. This isn’t an easy task, but it’s important to be firm about your boundaries in order to prevent them from relapsing and causing more harm. It’s also helpful to reach out for support yourself, and you might want to consider attending a family therapy session or seeking individual counselling from a professional therapist. This can help you realize that you’re not alone in your struggle and provide you with valuable support and guidance as you recover.