Whether you bet on football matches, scratch cards, video poker or slot machines at the casino, betting is a form of risk-taking in which the chances of winning are based on pure chance. There are some people who become so hooked on gambling that it starts to take over their lives and they find themselves spending more time and money on the activity than they can afford. In extreme cases, problem gamblers can even put themselves and their loved ones into debt. If you are struggling with a gambling addiction, there is help available.
Gambling is a psychologically complex activity and it can involve many different emotions. The first step towards recovering from a gambling disorder is admitting that you have a problem. You may also need therapy to overcome your addiction, which could include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or psychodynamic psychotherapy. There are also group support programs – including Gamblers Anonymous – that can provide invaluable guidance and advice to recover from an addiction to gambling.
CBT can help people with a gambling disorder by changing their beliefs about betting and how they behave when they want to gamble. Typical beliefs that can be corrected with CBT include believing that certain rituals can improve one’s luck, or that they can win back any losses by betting more. In addition, the treatment can also focus on identifying triggers and developing strategies for dealing with them.
When someone becomes addicted to gambling, they can lose control of their emotions and start to spend more money than they can afford to. This can lead to financial disaster and strain relationships. In severe cases, it can even lead to self-destructive behaviours such as stealing or lying. Problem gamblers can also experience suicidal thoughts. There is a strong link between depression and gambling, so if you are suffering from anxiety or depression, it’s important to seek help.
People who gamble can be from any walk of life and it is often difficult to know when your gambling is becoming a problem. In some cases, a problem can start in your childhood or in late adulthood. It can cause problems with work, relationships and health, and some people even commit crimes to fund their addiction. If you are concerned about your gambling, speak to a debt adviser at StepChange who can provide free, confidential debt advice. Alternatively, you can strengthen your support network by reaching out to friends and family, or joining a book club, sports team or education class. You can also join a peer support program such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is based on the 12-step recovery model of Alcoholics Anonymous. If you feel that you can’t break your habit on your own, then it may be worth considering a residential program, such as the one provided by the Gambling Clinic in Sydney. These programs can offer round-the-clock care and rehabilitation to help you recover from a gambling disorder. They can also address any underlying mental health issues that may be contributing to your gambling problems.