Whether it’s rolling the dice in a twinkly casino or tossing a coin into the air, gambling is a thrill-seeking activity that can offer a rush when lady luck shakes things up in your favor. But the gamble is that it also involves putting something of value at risk, and for many people, the thrill can quickly become an addiction. Gambling is legal and illegal in various jurisdictions worldwide, but it’s a popular pastime that can lead to serious financial and psychological problems for those who engage in it.
A key to overcoming gambling addiction is realizing that you have a problem and taking action to address it. The first step in the process is to make an appointment with a therapist, and you can do so through online therapy or by calling a hotline for help. Some people may need to attend inpatient or residential treatment programs to help them break their addiction and get their lives back on track.
There are a number of factors that can trigger an addiction to gambling, and each person is different. However, there are some common warning signs to look out for:
(1) Using money that you don’t have in order to gamble; (2) lying to family members or your therapist about how much you’re gambling; (3) returning to a casino the day after losing, to try and get even (chasing losses); (4) spending more than you can afford, or borrowing money in an attempt to gamble; and (5) jeopardizing relationships, employment, education, or career opportunities to gamble.
Some types of gambling are more dangerous than others, and it’s important to be aware of the risks before you start playing. Some of the most dangerous forms include lottery, sports betting, and horse racing. It’s also important to understand that most casino games are based on chance, and you won’t be able to control the outcome by exercising skill.
If you’re worried that a loved one is addicted to gambling, it’s important to seek support and stay positive. It can be hard to watch someone you care about struggle, but remember that many families have experienced similar situations, and there are ways to find strength. Having strong support systems is critical, and you can also find support by joining a gambling support group like Gamblers Anonymous or participating in a 12-step program modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous.
The first step to overcoming a gambling addiction is admitting that you have a problem. It’s a huge step, especially if your addiction has cost you money or caused strain in your relationships, but it’s essential to breaking free from your addictive behaviors. You can do it with the help of a therapist and by staying motivated. Get matched with a licensed, vetted therapist in as little as 48 hours.