Gambling involves betting or risking something of value, like money or property, on a future event or game with the hope of winning. It can occur in casinos, racetracks, sports events, and online. Typically, people gamble for fun and excitement, but some become addicted. The good news is that you can overcome gambling addiction. The first step is admitting you have a problem. Then you can take steps to change your behavior.
Counseling is an important part of treatment for pathological gambling (PG) and can help you identify problems and work toward solutions. Currently, there are no FDA-approved medications to treat PG, but some psychiatric medicines may be helpful for treating co-occurring conditions.
Therapy can also teach you to recognize and respond to cravings for gambling. It can also help you find healthy ways to deal with unpleasant feelings, such as boredom or stress. You can also learn to control your finances by getting rid of credit cards, putting someone else in charge of your money, closing online gambling accounts, and keeping only a small amount of cash with you.
Lastly, you can strengthen your support network by finding new activities and friends. You can also join a peer support group such as Gamblers Anonymous, which follows the model of Alcoholics Anonymous. If you’re struggling with a severe gambling addiction, inpatient or residential treatment or rehab programs are available. The most effective way to recover from a gambling problem is to seek help, especially if it has caused financial difficulties or strained family relationships.