How to Overcome a Gambling Addiction


Gambling involves wagering something of value on an event with some element of chance or randomness. Depending on the country, gambling can be done in casinos, lotteries, or privately at home. It’s a common pastime for some people, and it can even be a form of entertainment in films or on television. However, for some, it becomes a problem that can lead to serious financial and personal issues.

Various studies have shown that more than half of the population gambles, and for many people it’s harmless. But for those who have problems, gambling can harm their health, relationships, work or study performance, and lead to debt or even homelessness. The first step in overcoming a gambling addiction is recognising that you have a problem. This can be a difficult step, especially if you’ve lost a large amount of money and strained or broken relationships. But a good therapist can help you understand your behaviour and support you to break the habit.

A therapist can also teach you healthier ways to cope with unpleasant feelings, and encourage you to replace gambling with more healthy activities. For example, if you tend to gamble as a way to self-soothe unpleasant emotions or boredom, try exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or trying new hobbies.

It’s important to set money and time limits before you begin gambling, and stick to them. It’s also important not to use credit or other forms of borrowed money to gamble. And never chase your losses – the more you try to win back what you’ve lost, the more likely you are to lose more.

The most effective treatment for gambling is a combination of therapy and medication. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help you recognise and challenge negative thoughts that lead to gambling, and teach you more effective coping skills. Medication can be used to reduce cravings and help control your urges.

Some people find it hard to recognise that their gambling is a problem, and may hide evidence of their gambling or lie about how much they spend. This makes it even more important to seek help when you need it.

Longitudinal research is particularly useful in studying the effects of gambling, because it allows researchers to follow a group of participants over time. This allows them to identify factors that moderate and exacerbate gambling behaviour, and to infer causality.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, reach out to one of our professional counsellors. We can help you overcome your problem and rebuild your life. It’s free, confidential and available 24/7.