Help For Gambling Addictions

Many people find gambling to be a pleasant pastime that they enjoy, but for others it becomes an addictive behaviour. This can lead to problems such as losing control of money, relationships and personal wellbeing. The good news is that help and support is available to those who need it.

While most of us associate gambling with casinos and slot machines, the truth is that any form of wagering on an event that is at least in part determined by chance can be considered a form of gambling. This includes playing bingo, buying lottery or scratch-off tickets, betting on sports teams, and even placing a bet at the office pool. It also extends to online gaming such as video poker or blackjack.

The problem with gambling is that the brain’s learning mechanism can be hijacked through random rewards. For example, when you gamble, your body produces dopamine, which is a feel-good neurotransmitter. This chemical reaction may make you feel excited, but it is released when you lose as well as win, which can lead to a false sense of reward. The result is that you can end up spending more and more money, even when the odds are against you, as you continue to seek out the next winning streak.

Having a therapist can be an effective way to get on top of your gambling addiction. BetterHelp is an online therapy service that matches you with a therapist who is licensed and accredited to help with depression, anxiety, relationships and more. The first step is admitting that you have a problem, and while it can be incredibly difficult to do, it is essential to breaking the habit.

A therapist can teach you to identify triggers that cause you to gamble and develop healthy coping strategies. They can help you develop and implement a plan to break the habit and manage your finances, as well as re-establish trust in your relationships. A therapist can also teach you to avoid situations where you are likely to gamble and develop healthy self-care routines.

Gambling can affect all aspects of your life, including health and wellbeing, work performance, relationships and even your mental and physical fitness. It can also lead to debt and bankruptcy and increase the risk of suicide. According to Public Health England, around half a million adults in the UK suffer from problem gambling.

If you have a friend or family member who is struggling with gambling, it is important to stay strong and supportive. Try not to be too critical or make comparisons that could lead to resentment. If possible, try to find other interests and social activities, or seek professional help. If you’re worried that your loved one is struggling with gambling, set boundaries in managing money, and consider reviewing bank and credit card statements. You can also join a peer support group such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is based on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous and provides practical tools to help overcome addiction.

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