Gambling is an activity where you risk money or something of value in the hope of winning. It can be fun, but if it starts to interfere with your life and you feel the urge to gamble more and more often, it could be a problem.
There are several types of therapy that can help you overcome a gambling disorder, and some people respond better to certain treatments than others. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a common treatment for gambling disorders, and it involves teaching you how to change your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. You can also try other forms of psychotherapy, such as family therapy and psychodynamic therapy. You can also find self-help groups, such as Gamblers Anonymous, to help you get support.
Another important thing to remember is that gambling should be a form of entertainment, not a way to make money. If you want to try your luck at a casino, start with a fixed amount that you are willing to lose, and stick to that limit. Try to avoid free cocktails (there is a reason why casinos offer them), and don’t let yourself be fooled by the “gambler’s fallacy,” where you think that you are due for a win, or can recoup your losses by betting more.
Adolescents with gambling disorders are more likely to be isolated from their families, and to experience negative consequences in school and work. They are also more likely to be involved in substance abuse, and may have depression or anxiety. Some adolescent gamblers have thought about suicide, and there is a link between adolescent gambling problems and gambling-related financial difficulties in adulthood.
While there are no medications specifically developed to treat gambling disorder, some drugs used to treat mood disorders can help you manage your impulses and emotions. These can include antidepressants, sedatives, and anxiolytics.
Lastly, try to find other ways to relieve your stress, such as exercise, spending time with friends and family, or volunteering. You can also try joining a support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is based on the 12-step model of Alcoholics Anonymous. If your gambling is causing you a lot of financial difficulty, speak to a debt advisor at StepChange for free, confidential advice. You can also contact your GP to ask for a referral to a specialist gambling therapist. The DSM-5 has grouped pathological gambling with other behavior addictions in terms of their clinical expression, brain origin, comorbidity, and physiology. The move reflects new research and understanding of the biology of addiction. This is a welcome change, but it’s also essential to recognize that only one in 10 people with gambling disorder seek treatment. We need to do more to encourage people with problem gambling to seek help.