How to Overcome Gambling Addiction
Gambling has a Marmite-like quality that divides people, not least governments. Some believe it should be illegal, others argue that it brings social benefits and that restricting it only diverts it into unregulated markets and underground operations. Some experts also claim that gambling can boost the economy and help people learn financial management skills.
However, there is no denying that gambling can cause serious problems, especially for those who become addicted to it. Problem gamblers often run up huge debts, ruining their lives and those of their families. This can lead to bankruptcy, strained relationships and even mental health issues. It is estimated that between 1 and 5 percent of adults are considered compulsive gamblers. As a result, society must pay for the costs of treatment, legal fees and lost productivity.
In general, the term ‘gambling’ refers to wagering something of value (such as money or belongings) on an uncertain event with the intent of winning something else of value. This may include betting on sports events such as horse or greyhound races, football accumulators and other lotteries, as well as games of chance like lottery tickets, scratch cards and casino table games such as blackjack and poker. It can also involve speculative activities such as investing in business or technology, or gambling on the stock market.
There are a number of ways to treat gambling addiction. One popular option is cognitive-behavior therapy, which teaches people to resist unwanted thoughts and habits. In addition, therapists can teach patients to recognise irrational beliefs such as the notion that a series of losses or close calls (like two out of three cherries on a slot machine) signals an imminent win.
Changing gambling behavior is not easy, but it is possible to overcome an addiction to the game. The first step is to recognise the symptoms of an addiction and seek help. There are many different treatment options available, including individual and group therapy, family counseling, and inpatient rehab facilities. Some people may find it helpful to join a gambling support group. These groups offer support from others who have struggled with gambling addiction, and can provide advice on how to stay in control of your finances.
In addition to seeking professional help, you can also try to manage your loved one’s gambling behavior by setting boundaries in managing money and by encouraging them to engage in other hobbies or activities that do not involve risking money. It is also important to help them find healthier and more effective ways to self-soothe unpleasant feelings or relieve boredom, such as exercising, spending time with friends who do not gamble and practicing relaxation techniques. You may also want to consider debt advice, which is free and confidential at StepChange. You can speak to an advisor online or over the phone, and they will be able to guide you through the process of finding the best solution for your situation. Alternatively, you can visit your local Citizens Advice bureau to get face-to-face assistance.
Gambling has a Marmite-like quality that divides people, not least governments. Some believe it should be illegal, others argue that it brings social benefits and that restricting it only diverts it into unregulated markets and underground operations. Some experts also claim that gambling can boost the economy and help people learn financial management skills. However,…