Gambling is a form of entertainment where people stake something of value on an event with the hope of winning a prize. Whether it’s placing a bet on a football game or buying a scratchcard, gambling is a risky endeavor that can lead to addiction. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome a gambling addiction. These include psychotherapy, addressing any other mental health conditions, and strengthening your support network. There are also online resources that can help you identify and change unhealthy thoughts and behaviors.
Intangible benefits and costs are difficult to measure or quantify in dollar terms, but they’re still identifiable. Many of these effects are indirect, such as the impact on local job creation from a new casino facility that requires additional construction workers or hotel staff. However, some of these effects can be tangible as well, such as the destruction of a wetland that must be replaced in compensation.
A person’s brain is designed to seek out pleasure, and gambling can trigger a surge of the chemical dopamine. While this can produce a temporary rush, it’s important to remember that the most lasting satisfaction comes from healthy habits, such as spending time with loved ones or eating nutritious food. When a person becomes addicted to gambling, he or she may lose the desire for these healthier activities and replace them with more harmful behaviors.
Another reason to avoid gambling is that it can lead to serious consequences, including financial problems and relationship difficulties. In addition, some people may become so obsessed with gambling that they begin to lie to friends and family about their behavior or hide evidence of their activities. They may even turn to crime in an attempt to fund their habit or recoup losses.
It’s important to understand the dangers of gambling so that you can recognize if you have a problem. Common warning signs of a gambling disorder include:
While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t approve any medications to treat gambling disorders, there are a number of psychotherapies that can be helpful. These treatments include individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy. Individual psychotherapy can teach you coping skills and help you gain more awareness of your emotional triggers. Group and family therapy can help you rebuild relationships and create a more stable home environment.
The biggest step in overcoming a gambling disorder is admitting that you have a problem. It can take tremendous strength and courage to do this, especially if you’ve lost a lot of money or suffered strained or broken relationships as a result of your gambling behavior. If you’re ready to stop gambling, take a free assessment at BetterHelp and get matched with a licensed therapist in as little as 48 hours. Getting help for a gambling disorder is a life-changing decision that can improve your health, finances, and relationships. Taking action now can help you recover from a destructive habit and live a happier, more fulfilling life.