Important Steps in Overcoming Gambling Disorder
Gambling is an activity where you risk something of value, like money or property, on a random event – such as a football match or scratchcard – with the hope of winning something else of value. It involves a mixture of skill and chance, and requires three elements: consideration, risk, and a prize.
Problem gambling can have serious long-term financial, physical, social and emotional consequences for people affected by it. It is often accompanied by other mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder. It can also result in family and relationship problems.
The most important step in overcoming gambling disorder is admitting that you have a problem. This is difficult, especially if you have lost a lot of money or strained your relationships as a result of your gambling addiction. However, many people have successfully overcome gambling disorder and rebuilt their lives.
To understand what makes a person gamble, it is useful to look at the brain’s reward center. When you spend time with loved ones, eat a good meal or win money from gambling, your body releases the chemical dopamine, which gives you pleasure. This is why so many people seek these rewards from gambling, but it can lead to harmful behaviours.
There are a number of different types of treatment for gambling disorders, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, group therapy and family therapy. It can be helpful to find a therapist who has experience working with this condition, as they will have a greater understanding of the unique issues involved.
Another important step in overcoming gambling disorder is setting limits for how much money you can gamble with. This can help you avoid losing more than you can afford to lose, and it will keep you from going back to gamble again after a loss. To do this, decide on a fixed amount of money that you will not gamble more than, and then only use that amount. You can even set up an account to track how much money you’re spending.
If you can’t control your urge to gamble, it is helpful to join a support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous, or to ask for help from your GP or mental health worker. There are also specialist organisations that offer online or telephone counselling and advice for problem gamblers.
It is a good idea to take some time away from gambling, and to do other activities that make you feel happy. This will help you to regain some perspective on the harms of gambling and remind you that it is not a healthy way to spend your time. It is also helpful to have a support network of friends and family, who can offer you moral support when you need it. You could also consider seeking inpatient or residential treatment for gambling disorders, which are offered by a variety of hospitals and addiction treatment centres across the country. These programmes are aimed at those with more severe gambling problems who cannot control their cravings without round-the-clock support.