How to Overcome a Gambling Disorder

Gambling Feb 17, 2024


Gambling is an activity in which people risk something of value (like money or property) on a game of chance, with the hope of winning a prize. It can take many forms, including casino games, lotteries, sports betting, poker games, and online betting. While gambling can be a fun and social activity, it can also be addictive. People who suffer from a gambling disorder can develop serious problems that affect their work, family, and personal life.

Symptoms of gambling disorders can range from mild to severe. People with severe problems may need treatment at an inpatient or residential facility. Treatment options include cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and group or family therapy. Some people who have a gambling problem do not seek help, but others can overcome their addiction with the right support.

The research for this article was conducted using the longitudinal UK cohort study, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). ALSPAC participants were invited to attend a research clinic when they were 17 years old and completed a confidential, computer-administered survey about their gambling behaviors. They were also asked to complete surveys at age 20 and 24 years. Due to significant loss to follow-up, only 1672 of the 3566 people who participated at age 17 years completed all three surveys. The analysis uses multiple imputation techniques to address missing data and estimates the prevalence of gambling behavior at each time point. The results indicate that participants who reported gambling were more likely to be male and come from lower SES families, have conduct problems and hyperactivity, and report higher sensation seeking scores.

Some people are at high risk of gambling problems because of genetics or family history, traumatic events in their childhood, or mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Gambling can be a way to cope with unpleasant feelings or as a distraction from them, and it can become a habit that leads to dangerous behaviors like self-harm and suicide.

Getting help is the first step in overcoming a gambling addiction. Seek out peer support groups for gamblers, such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous. You can also strengthen your support network by finding other ways to socialize, such as joining a book club or gym, volunteering, or going out with friends in places that don’t involve gambling. Another important step is to set boundaries in managing your money. This can include keeping a limited amount of cash on you and not having access to credit cards or online gambling sites. You can also try to make other sources of income, such as a side business or taking on more hours at work. Lastly, you can try to find healthier ways to relieve unpleasant feelings, such as exercising or doing yoga.

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