Regardless of whether you play the lottery, gamble at the casinos or bet on sports, you should know the risks. A gambling disorder can lead to financial disaster and affect relationships. However, there are steps you can take to minimize the negative impact it can have on your life.
First, it is important to understand why you are gambling. You may be doing it because it is a way to socialize and to self-soothe unpleasant feelings. You might even be doing it to unwind or relieve boredom. But you shouldn’t view it as a way to make money. If you are unable to control your urge to gamble, you should stop.
Admitting to a gambling addiction isn’t easy. It can be frightening to have a loved one or a friend realize that you have a problem. It can also cause family members to feel ashamed or embarrassed. So, if you think that you or a loved one is a problem gambler, be sure to seek help. There are support groups and professional counselors available to help.
There are also several types of therapy for gambling disorders. Some of them include group counseling, cognitive-behavioral therapy and psychodynamic therapy. It is a good idea to find a qualified therapist who is trained to work with people who have a gambling disorder. Having a support network will be essential for your recovery. You might consider joining a peer support group or attending an education class for problem gamblers.
Some people are not aware that they have a gambling disorder until they begin to experience symptoms. During the course of your addiction, you might become depressed, lose your job, get into huge debts, or start stealing money to pay for your gambling expenses. It is normal to slip from time to time, but you shouldn’t give up. Learning from your mistakes is the key to a successful recovery.
In some cases, you can take the steps to recover from a gambling problem on your own. Some people are able to use a support network of friends, colleagues and family to help them cope. Other individuals choose to attend professional online therapy. You can also take an anonymous quiz offered by BetterHelp, a service that matches you with a therapist. You can also take the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for assistance.
If you are a parent and think that your child might have a gambling problem, be sure to discuss it with them. It is best not to micromanage them or force them to stop gambling. But you might be able to offer support through family therapy. It is a positive step to let your children know you are there for them.
You can also visit a doctor or other health professional who specializes in gambling disorders. Your physician can recommend medication or other treatment options. They may be able to help you manage any co-occurring conditions.
You can also join a support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous. This is a 12-step program that is patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous. You will be able to learn from your peers and former addicts.